McDonald, who played 103 times for the Dark Blues between 2005 and 2008, has been suffering from kidney disease and hasn’t played for Fulham since July last year.
Football took a back-seat as he prepared for a transplant – and veteran midfielder Adam made the touching tribute in his post-match interview after Dundee relegated Kilmarnock with a second 2-1 win to take the two-legged play-off 4-2 on aggregate.
Adam said: “There will be plenty of tears but I want to thank my family and friends who have supported me – it’s been a great time, but I also want to dedicate this promotion to Kevin McDonald a former player at Dundee who is going to have a kidney transplant this week. I want to dedicate that to him because as footballers we go through tough times. Kev, if you’re watching, that’s for you pal.”
Early goals from Danny Mullen and Lee Ashcroft extended Dundee’s advantage from the first leg and Kyle Lafferty’s second half penlaty couldn’t summon a comeback from the Ayrshire club who slip down to the second tier for the first time since 1993.
Adam though fulfilled his pre-season mission to restore his hometown team back to the top flight and in his post-match interview on Sky Sports he added: “It’s amazing, amazing. It’s what I tried to come back and come back for to get the club back. It’s a club I have supported since I was a young boy and I’m just delighted.
"It’s been tough at times but some of the stuff we played over the season and over the two legs – I thought tonight we were excellent and we deserve to go up. We’ve been the second best team in the Championship this year.”
He added: “There’s a lot of improvement in this team. There’s experience in this group and it’ll be Premiership for one or two who have never tasted it. It’s a big challenge. It’s something I’m really proud of – to captain and take my boyhood club back to the Premier League is what I set out to do and I’ve managed to do that.”