Paul Hartley: Dundee face test of mental strength

Paul Hartley has seen his Dundee side slip to ninth spot. Picture: SNSPaul Hartley has seen his Dundee side slip to ninth spot. Picture: SNS
Paul Hartley has seen his Dundee side slip to ninth spot. Picture: SNS
Dundee manager Paul Hartley admits his players face a real test of their mental strength as they attempt to end an eight-game wait for victory.

Dundee slipped to ninth spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership following last weekend’s 3-1 defeat by Motherwell at Fir Park. Motherwell were the last team Dundee beat, on 3 October, and they have fallen out of the top six in the intervening period.

Hartley’s side drew five games out of their next six to keep them well in the hunt for a top-six place, but consecutive defeats by Aberdeen and Motherwell have made the visit of Hamilton a significant encounter for the Dens Park side.

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And, with Accies only recording one win from their last eight games, the Dundee boss knows today’s encounter could come down to which team holds their nerve. Hartley said: “We know technically we are a very good team. The ability is there.

“This is more of a test now of the mental side of football and how you handle the situation. We have got to make sure we are prepared for Saturday and we are ready to go to try to get a positive result against Hamilton.”

Hamilton forward Dougie Imrie believes any team struggling in the Premiership can look to Partick Thistle for evidence of how fortunes can change.

The Jags slumped to the bottom of the table during a poor start to the season, but three successive victories have taken them into eighth place and within striking distance of the top six.

As such, Imrie is not reading too much into his own side’s form nor Dundee’s, pointing to Partick’s turnaround.

“That goes for nothing,” the 32-year-old said. “Dundee have good players. Every team in the league will go through a bad patch and at this moment it is them.

“Look at Partick Thistle, not so long ago lying down at the bottom of the table. They have won three in a row. All it is is a team getting a bit of confidence and playing well and when that happens they will get results. Anyone who can get a wee run of results will pull away.

“At the moment we are not getting the results we deserve with our play. We are playing well in spells, we were excellent against Ross County in the first half on Saturday. In the second half we weren’t at the races and we got punished and lost three slack goals. So we have to cut out the errors but every game is going to be difficult because every team can beat every other team in this league.”