Brown braced for ‘crunch time’ to avoid relegation

John Brown: Praise for players. Picture: SNS
John Brown: Praise for players. Picture: SNS
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DUNDEE manager John Brown is confident his side can take advantage this weekend if St Mirren slip up against Hearts at Tynecastle today.

Brown has turned up the heat on Danny Lennon’s League Cup winners all week as the SPL’s bottom side Dundee look to cut the gap on Saints to five points with two games of the season left to play.

Brown, who on Wednesday was named manager of the month for an impressive April, has worked wonders to keep the Taysiders in with a fighting chance of staying up as they prepare to host Aberdeen tomorrow while Lennon’s side are at Tynecastle today to face the side they beat in the Scottish Communities League Cup final.

Brown said: “It’s crunch time. We hope Hearts can do us a turn by beating St Mirren. If they can do that, then we’ll look to do our bit by getting a positive result against Aberdeen.

“We’re on a decent run of form and if there is any opportunity to cut the gap further then we have to try and seize the opportunity.”

Brown has led his side to three straight wins in April in their point-blank refusal to concede relegation but he insists it is all down to the players he inherited from previous boss Barry Smith back in February. He added: “I take my hat off to them. They’ve been brilliant from the start. I never had half a mind that it would be over soon. Never would I think like that. I always felt as though we would claw it back; how much we would claw back is down to the players getting the results.

“Considering we’d had only had three victories in 27 games I thought we could only go one way, and it was about getting the team organised and working until the last whistle. I had seen some of the performances of Dundee. They had been putting up a strong case but not getting the results. There’s no secret. I just put the demands on the players in training.

“There was a slackness in training, and they changed that. The ones who have continued to be slack are not in the side.”

Aberdeen defender Clark Robertson, meanwhile, believes the effect of their managerial change can help them match Dundee.

The Pittodrie side may not have much to play for, but since Derek McInnes succeeded Craig Brown as manager they have drawn at Easter Road and beaten Kilmarnock without conceding a goal. Full-back Robertson said: “The new manager has different ideas. Training has been brilliant. It can only help you when you go into a game if training has been high intensity. He wants us to be a team that gets the ball on the ground and play football, to be exciting to watch so that it gets fans back to Pittodrie.”

With less than 6,500 turning up for the Kilmarnock game, those fans may take some persuading to return, but Robertson said: “It’s a clean slate for everybody now. Some of the boys might have thought they were out the door already under the old manager but that’s not the case now and they all have a point to prove.

“That has shown in training with tackles flying in.”

Robertson is well aware that a change of manager at Dens Park has also had a positive effect, and added: “They are flying. If St Mirren slip up at Hearts, they will be all out for a win against us.”