James McPake retires from playing and takes up academy role at Dundee

James McPake wheels away after scoring a last minute equaliser against Dundee United at Tannadice. Picture: SNS Group
James McPake wheels away after scoring a last minute equaliser against Dundee United at Tannadice. Picture: SNS Group
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James McPake has retired from playing duties and will take up a role with Dundee’s academy, the Dens Park side have announced.

McPake made 55 appearances for Dundee, scoring four goals, but suffered an ultimately career-ending injury in the New Year derby match at Dens against Dundee United in January 2016.

The former Livingston, Coventry and Hibs defender sustained a fractured kneecap after a typically committed challenge on United’s John Rankin just ten minutes into the match.

Despite McPake’s repeated attempts to return to action, the 33-year-old has called time on his 14-year playing career, after 280 appearances and 16 goals.

The Bellshill-born centre half had taken up coaching duties at Dens as part of his rehabilitation, and will stay on with the Dark Blues academy as Head of Professional Programme.

McPake wrote himself into Dens folklore by scoring the second goal in Dundee’s 3-1 win over neighbours United - the first in ten years - in April 2015, before netting a last minute equaliser at Tannadice four months later.

A statement from the club read: “James McPake will always be held in high regard by the Dundee support for commitment, dedication, leadership and giving 100 per cent every time he pulled on the Dark Blue shirt.

“We wish James well for the future.”

McPake, in a message published on the club’s website, added: “I thank the club greatly for the countless support they’ve given me since joining in 2014.

“Since the injury and in the two years afterwards they have exhausted all possible options to try and get me back on the pitch, which was the ultimate aim.

“It hasn’t worked out that way but I now have a healthy knee that will allow me to have a normal active life and be involved and hands on in a coaching sense. Given the problems I’ve had with the knee this delights me.

“With only 9 months to go of my Pro Licence I feel that this positive side of the injury has given me a good head start.

“I hope I can now repay the club with my experience and pass some of this on to the youngsters and I can’t wait to get started with them and Jimmy [Boyle, head of youth development].