Defiant Dundee striker Danny Johnson believes Dundee United are still catchable despite being nine points clear of their city rivals.
The league-leading Tangerines’ 2-0 derby success at Dens Park on Friday night left a fair bit of clear, blue water between the two sides in the Championship.
Johnson, who probably had the Dark Blues’ only decent scoring chance in the match after coming off the bench, certainly hasn’t given up the chase.
He stressed that the United players can get “carried away” if they want to but, with only 13 matches of 36 played, is adamant there is still plenty of time to reel them in.
Johnson said: “It was hard to take, coming off the pitch and seeing them (the United players) celebrate like that.
“That is what you want to be doing with your own fans.
“If they want to get carried away then let them get carried away.
“There is still a long season to go,” added the former Motherwell frontman.
“It looks like a big gap right now but we were nine points behind earlier in the season and got back to within three of them (after Dundee’s win at Ayr).
“We still have five or six months to go in this campaign and you can make nine points back within a month.
“We have a lot to do, obviously, but it is a long season.”
Like manager James McPake, Johnson felt the main reason for the Dark Blues’ downfall in the derby was that they made costly errors.
He was referring to Declan McDaid’s rash foul on United’s Liam Smith to concede the penalty that made it 1-0 to the visitors then Andrew Nelson’s being robbed by Lawrence Shankland in the build-up to the Tannadice side’s second goal.
The Englishman added: “It was a very disappointed dressing room, as you would expect.
“It was a tough night.
“We made two mistakes, really, and they capitalised on them. That (making errors) is the last thing you want to do in a derby game.
“Football is very unforgiving and that was the case on Friday.
“Everyone was down after the match and obviously we have to do better.
“It is a long season but we can’t make mistakes like that because it will cost us over the course of the season.
“In these games, getting the first goal always gives you a real advantage because the other team has to come out and have a go to try and get back into it.
“We didn’t do that, they got their second and it was hard to come back from there.”
The Dens men have a bit of a break until their next match, away to Inverness Caley Thistle a week on Saturday.
Johnson is sure they will be over the derby defeat by that time, saying: “We have two weeks until the next game and you can look at it either way: we have two weeks to regroup and go again or you maybe want a game quickly to get it (the derby defeat) out of the way.
“I am sure we will come back against Inverness and put on a performance.”
On a personal level, Johnson is looking for more game time and if he gets that he expects to get among the goals.
He said: “It has been frustrating for me.
“The manager makes the decisions and I have to be patient.
“I am biding my time but when I have played I have scored so I back myself to, when I get back in the team, to get among the goals straight away.”