Ex-defender fears Dundee will follow rivals into second tier

Dundee manager Paul Hartley is under increasing pressure. Picture: SNS
Dundee manager Paul Hartley is under increasing pressure. Picture: SNS
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Matt Lockwood fears Dundee fans could be the ones to end up crying this season – just like their Dundee United rivals back in May.

The Dark Blues are in crisis in the wake of their sixth successive league defeat as Partick Thistle piled more misery on Paul Hartley’s men with a 2-0 win at Dens Park in midweek.

Boss Hartley admits he is under pressure having not won in the Premiership since their opening-day 3-1 success up in Ross County and now they sit three points adrift of second-bottom Motherwell in the table.

Lockwood, pictured, who starred at Dens from 2010-2014, watched his old club rub salt into United’s wounds at the end of last season by relegating the Tangerines to the Championship to spark wild celebrations among the Dundee faithful at Dens that night.

But now the former Dark Blues stalwart admits the Dundee supporters’ gloating may come back to haunt them unless their fortunes on the field pick up dramatically in the weeks ahead.

Lockwood said: “Dundee have shades of Dundee United about them in the Premiership last season.

“They look to be a team in freefall and we all remember what happened back in May as Dundee fans rubbed it in and United’s supporters were made to suffer big-time.

“Well, how things can change in football in the space of just a few months.

“It could be that Dundee’s fans are the ones to go through that sort of pain this time round which would be unthinkable from their point of view.

“It would be a travesty if my old club were relegated to be honest.

“You could say it’s still early days but, unless things pick up soon and results come from somewhere, there’s a danger they could become cut adrift.

“That’s my biggest worry and on current form, having not won since 6 August in the league, there’s nothing to suggest that won’t happen.”

Lockwood was instrumental in helping Dundee avoid relegation despite being hit with a whopping deduction of 25 points by the SFL in 2010 for plunging into administration.

The ex-Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest defender insists they need to find the kind of fighting spirit they displayed back then if they are to climb the table.

Lockwood said: “When you’re down there it becomes a real dog-fight.

“In the same way that winning became a habit for us when we were with the 25-point reduction, losing can very quickly become just as much of a habit at any football club.

“That’s what it seems like as far as Dundee are concerned right now.

“Confidence goes within the dressing room which is only natural and then the fans can start to get on the players’ backs which is the last thing you want.

“The Dundee fans will demand better. They want to see their side challenge for a top-six spot at least because they’ve had a taste of that in the past couple of seasons. However, these are testing times and I just hope for the supporters’ sake they can get out of this current situation.”