Barry Smith hoping league break can lift Dundee

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Dundee manager Barry Smith hopes tomorrow’s William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round tie with Morton can give his players a welcome break from the strain of league action.

Smith’s side sit 14 points adrift at the foot of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League following their midweek defeat by Hearts and already look certain to be relegated at the end of the season. But Smith is urging his players to take advantage of their cup weekend in a bid to kickstart their season.

“It’s been difficult this season for obvious reasons but this is a wee break from the league,” he said. “The cup is always nice to look forward to and we’re going into Sunday’s game looking to try and get a run. We’ve found results hard to come by in the league but this is a one-off tie with a last-eight place going to the winners.

“We don’t need any extra motivation than that so we’ll definitely be ready for it. The lads are all excited about the prospect of this tie because we know what’s at stake.

“I won’t need to say too much to them before the match. We want to get into the next round and believe we can do so if we play the way we know we can.”

Dundee slumped to a disappointing 1-0 loss away to Hearts on Wednesday and Smith wants to see an instant improvement against Morton, five points clear at the top of the First Division.

He said: “We could have done better the other night. We had played well in the two previous league games but didn’t really carry that on in the Hearts game.

“We’ve had Morton watched so will give them our full respect. They are doing well in the First 
Division and are obviously doing a lot of things right.

“They will come here full of confidence but it’s up to us to take the game to them on the day as we’re the home team.”

Morton manager Allan Moore is hoping that John Sutton’s late winner for Hearts against Dundee will help his men at Dens.

Moore explained: “On paper this looks like being a really tight game and having watched Dundee in midweek I believe we are in with a chance. It could come down to a very fine margin and that is where confidence could kick in.

“Dundee go into this game 14 points away from safety in the SPL and losing such a late goal to Hearts in midweek may just leave them feeling pretty down.

“If they do feel like that then we have to capitalise as we are going to Dens Park in confident mood as we won there twice last season and are back at the top of the First Division.”