Dundee manager Neil McCann has taken encouragement from a survey which showed they had Britain’s youngest starting line-up - but he has vowed not to throw young players in for the sake of it.
A study by CIES Football Observatory revealed Dundee fielded a team with an average age of 24.76, with Ladbrokes Premiership rivals Motherwell the only other team in Europe’s top 100 for this month.
Academy graduates Cammy Kerr and Kerr Waddell have been regulars this season while 22-year-old centre-back Jack Hendry has been an ever-present in the league.
The club can take further pride from the fact their under-20s side are top of the SPFL Development League, while initial plans for a new stadium include training facilities which could attract more young prospects.
McCann knows results are paramount regardless of age but he wants to develop a team that matures together to give Dundee a better chance of competing in the top half of the table.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit of Hearts, McCann said: “You can’t look short term. When I came in last season it was short term but I’m looking long term now.
“I want to put this club on a good footing with a real target of going forward, that we are developing. And not only developing youth, because it’s important having a real bond with the club as I do having come through this club.
“The youth will take care of itself and the new plans will allow us to really push that on, but its important that we try to build a side here that is competing in the Premiership and can progress, grow and age together. Because then you will have a team that can compete higher in the league on a more consistent basis.”
McCann added: “It’s nice news. Listen, you can have a young side and it’s toiling and you need to look for experience.
“Of course you need a mix but it’s always nice that you look behind and see things that you can take encouragement from but ultimately it’s about results on the pitch.
“I’m not going to kid fans on that it’s just about being youthful, it’s not, it’s about results. I’m not ignorant to that fact but I want to do it in a certain away.”