Midfielder Paul McGowan has taken the message on board and admits they can’t afford to slip up for their manager in tonight’s Betfred Cup derby against Dundee United at Dens Park.
A win over their city rivals would take them into the quarter-finals and McGowan, who helped St Mirren win the League Cup with a 3-2 victory over Hearts in the final at Hampden in 2013, is intent on delivering for his boss and believes it’s high time Dundee lifted silverware.
“On the first day he [McCann, pictured] came in, he had his meeting with us,” McGowan said. “The first thing he said to us is that he wanted to go on a cup run.
“He made it clear he wanted to improve our position in the league and go on a massive run in the cup.
“That was his aim from day one. It’s been long overdue. This club fully deserves to go on one. To get to a quarter-final is a huge incentive.
“We didn’t get through the group stages in this competition last year, and then we lost to St Mirren in the Scottish Cup. For a club like this – and the players we have – it’s not good enough.
“It’s a massive chance for us. The players knows that. Luckily, the new players have experienced the derby before after coming in over the summer so that should stand them in good stead.
“With these kind of games – and I’ve played in a few now – it’s who wants it more on the day that will triumph.”
Dundee are relishing another crack at their rivals after United won the Group C game at Dens on a penalty shootout last month. And McGowan, 29, claims the players been counting down the days since the draw paired the two old foes together once again.
McGowan said: “When the draw was made, I was in the shower and the manager came in and told us the news.
“We thought it was a wind-up but obviously we’re delighted. They’ve sold out their own end so the atmosphere will be great and we can’t wait for it.
“I know the feeling of getting to the cup final and winning it. For this club, it would be a great honour. And for some players who’ve never been there, it would be great for them as well as we’re a young team.
“It’s all there to play for. But if we’re not all at it – and some of us are playing to our potential and others aren’t – then we’ll get turned over.
“It’s a derby game, huge for the whole club. The players miss these games. It’s great for the city. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in them? This is a one-off game. You won’t get another chance if you lose this game in the cup, so we have to give it everything.”
Captain Darren O’Dea is suspended tonight but Dundee are hopeful that Sofien Moussa and centre-back Kerr Waddell will overcome the injuries that forced them off against Ross County on Saturday.