Charlie Adam on the difference Dundee fans can make as Dens Park opens doors for final promotion push

It won’t have quite the same atmosphere he will remember from his days in the South Enclosure, where Charlie Adam grew up watching football as a young Dundee fan.

Dundee's Charlie Adam during the Scottish Premiership Play Off Final 2nd Leg match against Raith Rovers at Dens Park (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

But the Dundee skipper is just glad to finally have the chance to lead his boyhood team out in front of at least some supporters at Dens Park against Kilmarnock in Thursday night's Premiership play-off final first leg.

On the day he signed for Dundee, Adam recounted being a fan at an epic Coca Cola Cup tie against Hearts in 1995 and invading the pitch after the home side's victory on penalties.

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It has been eight months since he fulfilled a longstanding wish to join Dundee. A smattering of applause from the directors’ box might have greeted some memorable moments such as his first competitive goal at the ground against Raith Rovers earlier this season. However, it’s been an ultimately soulless experience compared to some of the occasions he has enjoyed at the ground in the past.

Although Adam has played in front of Dundee fans before, when he guested at Julian Speroni’s testimonial in London six years ago for example, he has not done so at Dens.

An easing of Covid restrictions means Dundee can invite 500 fans to attend on Thursday, when they will be accommodated in the Bobby Cox stand.

These lucky supporters were informed yesterday after a ballot of season ticket holders. Dundee have only played in front of supporters once this season – at Inverness in December, when a limited number of home fans were allowed to attend.

“It will make a difference because they will be all our supporters and I hope we turn out and they are proud of what we do,” said Adam.

“It’s just a pity families can’t be there,” he added. “I want my kids to be able to see it as well and my wife.

"But season ticket holders are people who put a lot of money into this football club, and they will have the opportunity to come to the stadium and see us play.

“Hopefully we can do them proud. We have to perform in the second leg as well, but it will be good to see them back.”

Kilmarnock have been a top-flight club since 1993, when they kicked-off their return with a 1-0 win over Dundee. Their opponents that afternoon have endured a slightly more intermittent relationship with the top tier of Scottish football.

Adam joined Dundee with the aim of helping his team back into the Premiership and he stands two games away from achieving this dream.

“I am just really proud of how far we have come,” he said. “We had a sticky part at the start of the season, but we have used that first day defeat against Hearts to motivate us.”

Adam knows he is slightly fortunate to be involved later this week. He led a charmed life in the 1-0 defeat to Raith Rovers on Saturday, including an incident when the ball hit his raised hands when he was already on a booking. He also tripped Ross Matthews before being quickly taken off by manager James McPake.

“They came to wind us up,” Adam said. “Listen, it’s something you can’t rise to. We never took the bait and got through the game unscathed. Yes, I maybe got away with one.”

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