Dundee's Jason Cummings back on penalties and in the mood for play-offs: 'Not the end of the world if you don't finish second'

If promotion was calculated on levels of insouciance displayed by a team’s principal striker, then Jason Cummings’ Dundee would be hosed and dried already.

Dundee striker Jason Cummings - seen here slotting home from the spot in the 2-1 win over Raith Rovers on Saturday - is happy to be back on penalties  (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Dundee striker Jason Cummings - seen here slotting home from the spot in the 2-1 win over Raith Rovers on Saturday - is happy to be back on penalties (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The laid-back forward sat in the back row of the Dens Park directors’ box with his arm around the back of a seat and offered his thoughts on the play-off situation. He had just helped bring things nicely to the boil after setting Dundee on the road to a 2-1 victory against Raith Rovers with a well converted penalty.

It was his sixth goal in 12 starts for Dundee. If his side are to achieve their ambition of going up, he will be required to keep finding the net. He sees no problem on that front – particularly now he’s back on penalties.

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Cummings had to defer to seniority when Charlie Adam saw his effort touched onto the post by Zander Clark in the 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat to St Johnstone earlier this month.

The striker’s frustration was evident. Adam was back in the side on Saturday but there was no way Cummings was going to let the skipper take the spot kick – especially as he had earned it after his shot struck Kyle Benedictus on the arm.

“Charlie was on pens before I came here but I took a couple and scored them when he wasn't playing,” said Cummings. “He obviously missed the last one so I think I am back on them - I dinnae miss! I am confident in my own ability and it is in your favour to score a penalty. You just find a spot and go for it. I will take penalties - it’s not a problem.”

Of course, as he knows only too well, Cummings does sometimes miss, with catastrophic results on one memorable occasion. “When I first broke through I was with Hibs and we ended up playing Hamilton (in the play-off) and going down,” he recalled. “I missed a penalty (in the shootout) so that wasn’t great. On the flip side, I also went up with Hibs.

“I have told the lads that there is nothing better. What a feeling it is when you are playing well and you get that promotion. The party after and everything makes it all worth it. I am hoping I can do that at Dundee.”

“I don't think it is the end of the world if you don’t finish second,” he added. “We are capable of beating anyone over two legs and if it means six games, then not a problem. I would say second is obviously better and that’s what we are going for.”

If Dundee are to finish second, they need a favour from Hearts. James McPake’s team have to win at Queen of the South on Friday and hope the team Cummings supported as a boy – and who released him before he joined Hibs – can gain at least a point against Raith Rovers.

“We cannot affect their game,” said Cummings. “It is a tough one against Hearts but we also have a tough game away to Queens. It is good that we have secured the play-offs. If the worst comes to the worst and we don’t make second, we can still be confident we can go up finishing third.”

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