'Sulking won't do us any good' - Dundee star lifts lid on Charlie Adam substitution reaction in Aberdeen draw

Paul McGowan insists Dundee skipper Charlie Adam will be vital as the Dens Park side to look to overturn long odds and avoid automatic relegation.

A narrow 1-0 loss to Aberdeen at Pittodrie has certainly not helped matters when it comes to Dundee’s survival chances. While the defeat was significant – it means Dundee can be relegated as soon as this Saturday if they lose at St Mirren and St Johnstone win in Livingston – the decision by manager Mark McGhee to replace his skipper six minutes into the second half was the main talking point afterwards.

McGhee was irritated when he was probed further about why he chose to switch Adam, 36, with 19-year-old Josh Mulligan. The influential midfielder was clearly unhappy as he made his way to the dugout from the far side of the pitch. “That’s Charlie,” said McGhee afterwards before refusing to answer any further questions on the matter.

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He even pretended not to hear one journalist who quite reasonably hoped to gain some further insight into a very public and significant episode. “Did someone say something there?” he asked.

Dundee’s performance certainly fell flat in Adam’s absence with Lewis Ferguson’s 73rd minute penalty being enough to secure the points for Aberdeen and leave the hosts looking upwards rather than down.

At 34, McGowan now expects his game-time to be limited. He was replaced at half-time against Dundee United last month. He contends his fellow midfielder Adam was “fine” in the dressing room afterwards and stressed how important he will be as Dundee attempt to win their last three games. McGhee believes that should be enough to secure a relegation play-off place.

“Charlie is a top player,” said McGowan. “But I don’t see the big issue with it (the substitution). It’s a squad game. He’s a big player for us and he’s going to be needed. You make subs, bring fresh legs on. It could have been me coming off to get the younger guys on.

“In the first half we were killing Aberdeen but were trying to throw caution to the wind as we need to win games,” he added. “Charlie has been a big player for us. He’s going to be raging coming off – any player doesn’t like coming off – but he’s fine in the dressing room.

Dundee's Charlie Adam reacted angrily to being substituted in the 1-0 defeat to Aberdeen. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“It’s a team game and we go again next week, and hopefully we’ll get a bit of magic from him.”

McGowan insists there is no point anyone feeling sorry for themselves at such a critical stage of the season. Dundee will need to rely on young and older members of the squad, beginning in Paisley on Saturday, as they attempt to make up five points on St Johnstone.

“We’ve got an abundance of talent and they need that bit of guidance,” said the midfielder. “They are still raw but they have a big future. The future is bright with the kids coming through. Charlie might not play every game. I’m at that age where I just want to help the team as best I can. Charlie will be the same.

“If the manager picks a team and I’m not in it on a Saturday, then fair play. I’m not going to sulk away and start arguing. I’ll encourage and help the boys. It’s not nice for the young boys to see us sulking. That’s not going to do us any good with the situation we’re in.”

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