The Dens Park club announced the death of the oldest surviving Scotland internationalist hours before kick-off. Cowie, who was 95, made a record 446 competitive appearances for Dundee, with whom he won back-to-back League Cups in 1951 and 1952.
There is a Doug Cowie Lounge in the Dens Park main stand. In Covid-19 times, the room is now used by McPake and his coaches to prepare for matches. The Dundee coaching team got their tactics spot on as Motherwell were swept aside 3-0 with goals inside 50 minutes from Luke McCowan, Danny Mullen and Ryan Sweeney.
McPake missed the last two days of training due to illness but was in the dugout to see his side bounce back from a 4-2 home defeat to Celtic before the international break.
“It was a fitting tribute to the club’s record appearance holder,” said McPake afterwards. “You could feel the atmosphere in the stand before the game. We used it in our team talk, we said it was for Doug. And it was a fitting tribute to a real legend of this football club. It was at the top of our minds and that was who the win was for.
“Another special mention goes to my staff, because I have not been here for two days so maybe I should just stay away. Credit to them, they have been excellent while I have been off ill.
“It’s been a long wait since the Celtic game,” he added. “That’s six points out of our last nine. We have St Johnstone on Wednesday and we can’t let it drop.
"We had real willingness and desire and a lot of that came from how the players were feeling about a club legend. I don’t normally come out and say things like that.
"We work out of his club lounge now, just wee things like that. You sense it from the start. That’s what happens when you lose such a club legend. The players did the football club proud today.”