Dundee manager James McPake on “deserved” Hearts win, the former Tynecastle 'keeper who showed his mettle against old side, title implications, and why he won’t be giving Charlie Adam a rest

Dundee manager James McPake has heaped praise on Jack Hamilton after the former Hearts ‘keeper pulled off two important saves against his former side to help secure a 3-1 victory over the league leaders.

Dundee manager James McPake's side have scored three goals in four successive league games for the first time since January 1978 (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Dundee manager James McPake's side have scored three goals in four successive league games for the first time since January 1978 (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

McPake would not be drawn on whether the win pus Dundee back in the Championship title frame – but he did suggest it might persuade some people to reassess the view that a Hearts triumph is a formality. The former Hibs defender appeared to reference some assessments that were made following Dundee’s 6-2 defeat at Tynecastle on the opening Friday night of the campaign.

Dundee are now within five points of Hearts but the Dens Park side have played a game more. Dunfermline are also five points behind the Tynecastle side having played the same number of matches.

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“It gives us another three points,” said McPake. “We will let other people talk. The league was already won. Fair enough. We will keep chipping away. That’s all we can do. I think it is disrespectful to discount Ayr United, Dunfermline, who have been fantastic. Hearts have started the season very well. So it is a competitive league.

“There are others too I have probably missed out. Does it open the title race up? I am not really bothered. I just want to keep getting wins for Dundee.

We deserved to win that game. There was no way we were going to throw that away tonight.”

McPake lauded Hamilton for reacting so well to recent criticism as well as the arrival of a new goalkeeper, the currently injured Adam Legzdins. He pulled off fine second-half stops from Steven Naismith and Euan Henderson.

“Our goalkeeper has a couple of great saves,” said McPake. “I must give him a massive mention in particular. There have been times when people have had a pop at him and he has made a mistake but name me a goalkeeper in the world who hasn’t. But two saves tonight are top, top class.”

The manager added that it will be hard telling Charlie Adam, who created Dundee’s first two goals for Jordan McGhee and Danny Mullen before being replaced 13 minutes from the end when his thigh tightened up, to sit out the next game, the live televised second round clash against Bonnyrigg Rose in the Scottish Cup. Adam, the Dundee skipper, suffered the death of his mother, Ellie, shortly before Christmas.

“You try telling him to have a rest,” said McPake. “He’ll have none of that at all. Credit to Charlie, he has had a terrible couple of weeks. I cannot speak highly enough of the man, what he brings to this football club as a person, he lost his mother and has still played in every game.

“It will be my decision of course, but if he is available and fit Charlie Adam will be in my team.”

Dundee last lost a league game at home a year ago tomorrow. They have scored three goals in four successive league games for the first time since January 1978. “I said to the players, can you imagine this place tonight with the fans? it would have been bouncing,” said McPake. “That’s my only regret. We need to turn it (Dens Park) into a fortress, especially in this league.”

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