Dundee boss James McPake is refusing to accept that playing at Dens Park is proving to be a drag on his players.
The Dark Blues, not for the first time this season, were booed at both half-time and full-time as they lost 2-0 at home to Inverness Caley Thistle on Saturday.
Some have been theorising that the negative atmosphere inside the stadium contributed to what was a significant drop in performance level from the Dundee derby that was fought out in front of a packed Tannadice eight days earlier.
McPake doesn’t accept that Dens is a factor and has been looking for other reasons for the dispiriting defeat at the hands of the Highlanders.
“I was never big on that,” said the Dark Blues’ manager.
“I didn’t feel that as a player.
“The basic thing that supporters want to see is people going out there and working hard.
“For 25 to 30 minutes, Inverness were much better than us and by then the game was effectively done as far as they were concerned as they had a lead and sat back off the match.
“They were right to do that and it happened to us up there (in Inverness) as well. They are really good at it.
“You know that teams come here and look to get through the first 20 minutes or so and hope to get the crowd turned against us.
“That happens at clubs that have quite a bit of support. We have been that club, with fans turning.
“People were on our backs on Saturday because we were 2-0 down inside 24 minutes.
“But I genuinely don’t buy into the view that there is this big stigma or a big problem about that (playing at Dens).
“I don’t get it and it should be the opposite because when you get it right and you get the fans right behind you it is a really good place to play.
“It flips and becomes a good place to play football.
“The atmosphere can be really good but I have said it before and I will say it again – we need to give them something back.”
The supporters certainly deserve better fare than the gruel they were dished up on Saturday.
Dundee just can’t afford to be so poor when third-placed Ayr United are the visitors this weekend.
McPake added: “I didn’t see that one coming.
“It was the same 11 players that had done so well at Partick and then down the road (against Dundee United) as well.
“We didn’t anticipate that happening but it has occurred before and we have managed to recover from it.
“That has to be at the forefront of our minds now, getting it right against Ayr.
“Yes, it is frustrating.
“The difficult thing to put your finger on is that we did not make significant changes.
“You can perhaps weigh it up when you have chopped and changed and ask: “Were we poor because we brought in four players?’
“It was the same team against Inverness so we can’t do that.
“They were better than us – simple as that. They had a two-goal lead and were very comfortable.
“In the second half we were a bit better but maybe it’s easier to be better when you are 2-0 down and have to take the game to a team.
“I said as much to our players so we are not taking positives from that.
“We can’t afford to be so up and down as a team.”