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RAB DOUGLAS: Dundee, St Johnstone and Dundee United all need a Scottish Cup victory this weekend to stop the rot

Three managers under pressure - James McPake, Tam Courts and Callum Davidson.
Three managers under pressure - James McPake, Tam Courts and Callum Davidson.

A nine-game losing run and two six-game losing runs……..there’s not been much to cheer up the managers of Tayside’s three Premiership clubs lately.

Callum Davidson, Tam Courts and James McPake would all have been hoping that the three-week break would change the direction of their team’s form.

So far it’s been a case of picking up where they left off unfortunately.

By all accounts the reasons for their midweek defeats aren’t new ones.

They’ll all have ideas about how they can turn things around.

More signings will be one part of it.

A change of luck will be another.

Cup opportunity

And winning a game in the Scottish Cup this weekend could also be an important step in the right direction.

They’ll want to get to Hampden and, in St Johnstone’s case, put up a good defence of their trophy, as they did in the League Cup.

But the biggest priority is getting a morale-boosting win that stops people talking about how many games they’ve lost on the bounce and gives them something to take into their league campaign.

Dundee and Saints face each other next midweek and there’s no getting away from it – that’s a huge six-pointer.

Losing doesn’t bear thinking about.

Going back to the three managers in this part of the world, speaking about Callum first, it goes without saying that winning two cups has bought him the right to try and turn this around.

St Johnstone will know they sold him short in the last transfer window and need to back him to get the signings he needs before this one shuts.

Everything goes under the microscope when you’re on a run like Saints are.

Formations don’t win games

Callum likes five at the back but people are barking up the wrong tree if they think tactics are at the heart of this.

Formations don’t win you games – good players and well-drilled players do.

James McPake hasn’t put any trophies in the Dens boardroom but John Nelms and Tim Keyes won’t forget that he secured Dundee’s place in the top flight.

They’ve backed him time and time again.

Dundee boss James McPake.

Tam Courts has less behind him but those great results earlier in the season – like beating Rangers – shouldn’t be forgotten.

All three have tricky cup games.

Saints face Kelty Hearts who are winning most weeks and have a team of good season pros, Kilmarnock v United is a cracking tie and Dundee won’t be taking Dumbarton for granted after the near-miss against Bonnyrigg Rose last season.

I’d be very surprised if there was much in the way of squad rotation.

The stakes are too high.


We don’t need a confidence boost at Arbroath just now but we don’t want to be on the end of a cup shock that will affect our momentum.

We’ve done our homework on Darvel and certainly won’t be treating them lightly.

It will be good to meet up with one of my old Deefiant team-mates, Sean Higgins, who is on their coaching staff.

There’s another ex-Dundee lad back at Arbroath on our team, Craig Wighton.

I’ve always been a big fan of Craig’s and I’m sure I’ll be speaking about him a lot more in the column in future weeks.

Hopefully after he’s scored a lot of goals for us and shown what a quality player he is!

3 St Johnstone talking points: Nadir Ciftci is the best hope to lead Saints out of their ‘crisis’ as season-defining Dundee game looms large

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