Describing the race for the promotion play-offs as a mini-league would be missing the point, according to Dundee manager James McPake.
That’s because there are more Championship sides involved in it than not.
And part-time Arbroath, who jumped over the Dark Blues into fourth in the table on Saturday, are definitely one of them.
“Absolutely, said McPake.
“Arbroath aren’t a surprise to me at all.
“I said at the time we drew with them that they weren’t a team everybody should be expecting to beat.
“On their day they can beat anybody in the league. They beat United.
“We’re too far into the season now for them not to be treated as a contender for the play-offs.
“It’s not just their results. It’s the impressive performances and the depth of their squad. They’ve obviously brought Wighton in. He’ll continue to do well for them.
“The biggest thing they have on most of the teams in this league is they have been used to winning consistently and they’ve carried that into this season.
“I don’t see that changing. That’s why they’re a big threat.”
If this stage of the season can’t yet be called the run-in, it’s not far away.
“The play-off places will be decided by who shows consistency from now on,” said McPake. “You need to put a run together.
“You can go from second top to second bottom really. It’s not a mini-league! We’re all competing for three places.
“As a neutral it’s good. We’re far from happy with where we are in the table but we’re happier with our squad and our performances of late.”
Next up for Dundee, who are coming off a free weekend, are Queen of the South at Palmerston.
“We’ve played Queen of the South twice and not beaten them,” said McPake.
“They deserved to win here and there was nothing in the first game at their place.
“It will be tough again. We know they’ve got one of the league’s best players (Stephen Dobbie). We’ve seen that threat with our own eyes.”