Dundee manager James McPake: Every Hearts player is under severe scrutiny

Dundee manager James McPake is confident Hearts will give Raith Rovers a tough examination on Friday night because he knows the demands of playing for one of the two big Edinburgh teams.

Dundee manager James McPake after the 2-1 win over Raith Rivers that keep his side in the hunt for second place in the Championship (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The former Hibs skipper needs a favour from champions Hearts if Dundee are to overhaul Raith in second place and avoid a Premiership play-off quarter final. It will only matter if McPake’s side gain three points against Queen of the South at Palmerston Park on the same night.

“I hate saying that – I need a favour from Hearts!” said McPake with a smile. “We need to go down to Queen of the South and look after Dundee Football Club.

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“What I would say is that I have played for one of those Edinburgh clubs and I know the pressure – as a player, not a manager, so I can’t say I have been in the manager’s shoes or those of Lee McCulloch.

“They have won the league. They have been the best team, that’s why. We need to take care of Queen of the South. What I will say, every time you pull on, for me, the Hibernian jersey, which I was honoured to do on many occasions and captain that club, then you are under severe scrutiny, and it’s the same for the Hearts players.

“This is not a rallying call saying ‘please turn up Hearts, do us a favour’ because I could not care less. We could go there and get beaten and it would not matter. My loyalty lies with Dundee Football Club, I am like any player in there, I want to get this club back to the Premiership. We need to take care of our own issues. What happens happens.

“If it is second place, great, if it is third or fourth, then great,” he added. “We just need to deal with what it is in front of us.”

Dundee overcame Raith at Dens thanks to first-half goals from two former Hibs players. Jason Cummings gave Dundee the lead from the spot and Liam Fontaine headed the host two ahead before the break. Ex-Dundee defender Kyle Benedictus pulled a goal back for Raith with two minutes left. Dylan Tait was then sent off for the visitors after a crude challenge on Paul McGowan.

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