Dundee defender Jordan McGhee has admitted the derby defeat at the hands of Dundee United “took the wind out of our sails.”
The Dark Blues had been on a three-match winning run when they hosted the Championship leaders at Dens just over three weeks ago.
It all went horribly wrong for them, though, when a flat performance from the home team helped the visitors secure a comfortable 2-0 win.
Dundee’s plan was to recover from that when they travelled up to the Highlands last weekend to face Inverness Caley Thistle but another lacklustre display saw them go down 1-0.
That left James McPake’s side sitting in fourth spot and a whopping 12 points adrift of leaders United.
McGhee, whose team will try to get back to winning ways when Queen of the South visit this afternoon, admits that the derby loss knocked confidence at the club.
He insists it is still too early to be paying attention to the league table and that you can’t yet write the Dark Blues out of the title race.
However, he is also well aware that they must get a victory against the Doonhamers to steady the ship.
McGhee said: “Looking back, the derby game took the wind out of our sails a bit after being on a good run up until then.
“It doesn’t last for a few weeks but maybe for a few days afterwards you don’t really want to do anything.
“It is only natural when you lose a derby that that happens.
“It does hurt but you have to put it to the back of your mind, and then you wait until the next time and hopefully it can spur you on.
“We wish we could have done more that night. The supporters know we should be doing more.
“At the end of the day, we are Dundee Football Club and we should be doing better, and be up near the top of the table.”
As well as the distance between themselves and their city neighbours, the Dens men are three points behind second-placed Ayr, who have a game in hand, and two behind Inverness in third. Indeed, they can also look over their shoulder and see Arbroath just a point behind them.
Therefore, there is no room for error this afternoon.
McGhee added: “We have had two difficult results to take recently.
“But it is good that this game is at home and we will look to kick on again.
“If you look at the Inverness match, we had large spells of possession and played pretty well, creating a few chances.
“So it was a tough one to take overall.
“It is just one of these things and hard to put your finger on why it has been like that.
“Obviously, it is a tough league and everyone is capable of beating everyone,” he added.
“In most of the games, we are having most of the ball and playing not too badly but it is about turning that into something and that is what we want to do this weekend.
“We need to improve all over the pitch.
“In training, the boys are always working hard and what we have to do is put a string of results together.”
McGhee does not think all is lost for Dundee as reagrds promotion and, of course, there is the play-off route available if United can’t be caught.
He added: “We just need to pick up as many points as possible and see where it takes us come the end of the season.
“It is far too early for us to be written off.
“Personally, I have been in this league for nearly two years now and you see a lot of teams make a late push. Anything is possible.
“I don’t really look at the table. I don’t think most of the boys do either, to be fair.
“Maybe at some other stage of the season I might take some notice but it’s still too early for that kind of thing, even though you do keep tabs on who is playing who.
“There is a lot of football still to be played.
“You never know what is going to happen. Football is a crazy game.”
The Dark Blues will be without Andrew Nelson, who has a bruised foot, while Jordan Marshall (hamstring) is a major doubt. Goalkeeper Jack Hamilton will return after recovering from surgery.