Dundee manager Barry Smith takes inspiration from experience of rivals
Dundee manager Barry Smith admits he will always look to benefit from the knowledge of more experienced coaches as he prepares to lock horns with the veteran management team of Aberdeen.
The 38-year-old – the second youngest manager in the SPL behind Derek Adams, 37 – finds himself in a difficult situation in only his second full season in management with Dundee five points adrift at the foot of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
He comes up against two of his former managers tomorrow – Craig Brown had him in his Scotland Under-21 squad, while former Dundee boss Jocky Scott recently joined the Pittodrie coaching staff. Another former Dens Park manager, Archie Knox, takes the Dons coaching triumvirate to a combined age of more than 200 and Smith will bank their post-match advice.
“Any experienced coach like Craig or Jocky Scott, Alex Smith, Jim Duffy, I speak to them all,” the Dundee boss said. “I want to win and I want to do better. If you can’t learn from these guys then you are struggling. These are guys I would definitely pick the phone up to.
“I was on the phone to Alex Smith the other day. I went down to watch the under-20s game (against Falkirk) and we had a wee chat before the game, and I appreciate him taking the time to phone me. Sometimes that’s what you need, maybe a different insight into something.”
Smith, who has an American trialist in, admits a draw at Pittodrie would be very welcome following five consecutive defeats. “They are on a good run of form, they have good experience in the right places and young talent,” he said. “It’s a tough place to go. Our objective is to get three points but I think a point away from home at the stage we’re at would be a good point.”
Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes is determined to force his way back into Brown’s plans but believes he is battling for a place in one of the strongest sides in the SPL.
The Irishman has been forced to settle for substitute appearances in the last two outings against Kilmarnock and Dundee United after recovering from injury. The form of Ryan Fraser has made competition even stiffer, but Hayes accepts he must bide his time and make an impact when the opportunity arises.
He said: “I knew after missing a game I wouldn’t come straight back in. The team won two games on the bounce. It is a little bit frustrating, but you can’t do anything. You can’t argue with the gaffer. He’s picking a team and the team are performing.
“We have one of the best squads in the SPL. You only have to look at the strength of our bench most weeks. All players have to understand you can’t just walk into the team. You have to bide your time and work harder off the pitch, in training, and in the gym and wait for your opportunity. When you get a chance you have to take it.”
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