Dundee defender Iain Davidson has revealed how he and his team-mates have been warned about the horrors of relegation from former Hibs pair Kevin Thomson and James McPake – and hopes that threat can help them stop the slide.
Paul Hartley’s struggling side made a nightmare start to 2015 as they were crushed 6-2 by city rivals Dundee United in the New Year’s Day derby at Tannadice.
It leaves Dundee without a win in their last seven Premiership outings and low on confidence after making such a bright start on their top-flight return earlier this season.
The Dark Blues are now gearing up for today’s crucial clash with bottom-club Ross County at Dens Park, where a win for the visitors would take them to within eight points of Dundee.
Davidson, still hurting from the manner in which they were humiliated by United on Thursday, has told how both skipper Thomson and centre-back McPake have sat them down in the Dens dressing-room and laid bare the sheer brutality of the dreaded drop, having suffered it with Hibernian at the end of last season.
Davidson said: “We’ve spoken about that already. We’re not kidding ourselves on because we’re on a bit of a downward spiral.
“James and Kevin have mentioned that. We’ve got to be honest about it, this month hasn’t been great for us.
“To lose 6-2 in a derby is the sorest one to take, but we didn’t apply ourselves in the right manner.
“The gaffer has said to James, ‘You’ve been involved in it,’ and James has told us it’s horrible, that it’s not something you want to be involved in.
“We’re letting the teams below us catch us up – and performances like the one against United aren’t going to help. We’re going to be down there if we do that, so we’ve got to try and react on Sunday to put that right.
“We’ve got Ross County next and a run of games in which we need to do well. Sunday is going to be a massive game, but it’s about character and how we react. We have to make sure we want the game more than Ross County.”
Dundee capitulated in front of the live cameras instead of rising to the occasion of a full house at Tannadice and Davidson believes it’s time certain individuals within the dressing-room got their act together.
He said: “That should have been a test of character against United. Some boys are needing to have a long, hard look at themselves. For me, some of them have let themselves down. Some have done OK.
“We need to show resilience and character to bounce back and I suppose the one thing in football is there’s always a game coming around the corner to try to put it right.
“Everyone connected with the club is hurting, the players are devastated and I can only apologise to the fans because it hasn’t been good enough.”
Davidson was back after a first-team lay-off which wasn’t helped by a recent nose injury but the former Raith Rovers captain didn’t hide from the fact United were far hungrier on the day to start 2015 with a bang. He said: “It was nice to be back involved, but it wasn’t a nice game to be involved in. What can you say? It simply wasn’t good enough.”
Dundee were rocked by an injury to No.1 goalkeeper Kyle Letheren in the warm-up which meant German Arvid Schenk was thrown in at the deep end in what turned out to be a disastrous debut, losing a goal to Stuart Armstrong after just 31 seconds.
Davidson felt for Schenk,- but still insists their drubbing had far more to do with others not turning up when it mattered.
He said: “I’ve got a little bit of sympathy for him. It’s never easy getting chucked in at the last minute.
“I don’t think we can blame Arvid for anything. Collectively as a squad and as a team we have to look at our own performances.
“We need to have a long, hard look in the mirror.”