Dundee striker Craig Wighton learns to cope with expectation

Craig Wighton made his Dundee debut at 16. Picture: SNS
Craig Wighton made his Dundee debut at 16. Picture: SNS
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Craig Wighton has learned to shut out outside pressures during his formative years as a Dundee player and feels that is precisely the way his team will get off the bottom of the league. The Dundee-born player has had to cope with major expectations since making his debut at the age of 16.

Now aged 19 and with more than 50 first-team appearances for Dundee under his belt, the forward is keeping his focus on football.

Wighton, who has started the last two games, said: “Playing at 16 was good at the time but you maybe don’t realise there were a lot of expectations. I have had to deal with that throughout the time I have been here but I am used to that now. I am 19 now and getting a bit older so I want to play week in, week out. It’s up to me to make it hard for the manager to leave me out.

“I have played in the first team for a few years but I have never really had a run of games. It’s always play one or two and go out for the next couple. It’s up to me to keep working hard and get myself in the team but I feel I can play a vital role in climbing up the table.

“There has always been stuff in the papers and it’s hard to get away from it because I am from Dundee and a lot of my friends and family are Dundee fans. People are always asking: ‘Is this true? Is that true?’ But you don’t let it affect you and you come in and work hard and forget about what people say or what goes on.”

Dundee ended a six-match losing run with victory at Hamilton last weekend and Wighton is determined to follow that up against Motherwell at Dens Park today.

“We didn’t start the way we wanted, everyone knows that,” Wighton said. “That win on Saturday was good for the fans but we need to build on that.”

Dundee are without Mark O’Hara (hernia) and Faissal El Bakhtaoui (calf) but are hopeful that Kevin Gomis (hamstring) will be fit,

Motherwell skipper Keith Lasley and defender Steven Hammell both return after injury but midfielder Carl McHugh remains unavailable with delayed concussion.