Why Dundee need focus to end unwanted 18-year Tannadice record and aid survival hopes

Jordan McGhee squeezed the ball in between the back post and Joe Lewis, having met Charlie Adam’s free-kick. The defender celebrated in front of the Bobby Cox Stand before turning and heading for his half.

On his way back, still wearing the captain’s armband, he put his index fingers to either side of his head. The message was clear: ‘Stay focused, keep the head’.

It was Dundee 1–1 Aberdeen. The message wasn't one followed. With ten minutes remaining two Dundee were focused on Vicente Besuijen lying on the floor after going down in the box rather than the game still on going. Aberdeen scored.

Yet, despite their position in the league, Mark McGhee’s side showed their battling qualities to get back on level terms through Danny Mullen.

Dundee's Jordan McGhee scored the first equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Aberdeen. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

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It was a good point but no longer are single points good enough for Dundee. With six games remaining wins are vital. Having done so just five times in 32 games, they will likely need at least three in the run-in.

Jordan McGhee reiterated his ‘focus’ message after the game with a huge Dundee derby at Tannadice on the horizon.

“Every game is a cup final for us now, we know that," he said. “There are six games left now and we need to pick up wins.

“Do we likely need to win half of our games now? Probably, we are well aware of it. Everyone at the club is aware of it and everyone knows what’s at stake.

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Dundee head to Tannadice in a huge derby next weekend. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“We need to win games, draws are not really enough at this stage.

“It’s about mentality as much as anything now, when you cross that line you have to take the anxiety away and turn it into a positive when you go onto the pitch."

With Charlie Adam back, showing his class off the bench with two assists, Dundee have what it takes to trouble teams but despite their competitiveness in a defeat to Rangers and draw with Aberdeen they are still winless since James McPake was sacked.

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No better way to end that run than a derby. Yet, Dundee haven't won at the home of their rivals since August 2004, a run of 11 without victory. During that time they have conceded six on two occasions.

“Next week going down to Tannadice, it’s going to be hostile but we have to keep cool heads," McGhee said. “And our big game players need to turn up.

“It has been a long time since a Dundee team won down there, we spoke about it before under the last manager. This will be a great chance for us to put it right, so hopefully we can do that next Saturday.

“I have played in six or seven derbies, they are great games to be involved in. We will go down there and have a good backing from the supporters.

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“St Johnstone have a tough game against Celtic, while we have the derby - so we have to go down there and pick up three points. If we can do that, we could be three points closer to them and still have to play them after the split.

“But we can’t look at other teams, it’s about us producing performances and focusing on what we’re doing. We have to dig deep and try to get through it."

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