Dundee boss James McPake disagrees with Robbie Neilson ahead of Friday night’s Championship opener saying he’d rather have the competitive build-up rivals Hearts have had to the big kick-off.
The two favourites for the second-tier title face off at Tynecastle as the sides get back to league football for the first time since the shutdown in March.
The Jambos dropped down from the Premiership while the Dark Blues missed out on a play-off place thanks to the early end to 2020/21.
Last week Robbie Neilson said the three Betfred Cup matches in a week, including tomorrow night’s home tie with Raith Rovers, ahead of the league kick off would force him to rotate his squad and give Dundee an advantage.
The Dark Blues will have only played one competitive match ahead of the trip to Tynecastle, a 2-0 win at Brora Rangers, after their opening game against Forfar was cancelled.
But McPake disagrees with the “tongue-in-cheek” comments from Neilson.
He said: “I’d say the opposite to Robbie – I’d rather have his week.
“I’d rather have the competitive minutes. Players want to play football and Hearts have a massive squad.
“He can chop and change it. Like us, they have players on international duty who will be back in time.
“Robbie’s got a squad probably double the size of ours and they’ve played probably double the games we have so I don’t think the midweek game will cause them too much of an issue.
“Hearts also have a huge semi-final a few weeks into the season, so I think the comments were tongue-in-cheek from Robbie.
“They’ll be wanting the football, the competitive stuff, because that’s a huge game for that football club.
“Hearts will be delighted with their preparation, they’ve had loads of games, loads of work and have a big enough squad to cope with it.
“Robbie knows this league, he’s won it twice, but hopefully his eye is on that semi-final a little bit.”
Meanwhile, McPake was happy with his side’s performance at the home of Highland champions Brora, with early goals from Graham Dorrans and Danny Mullen earning a 2-0 win.
Alongside Mullen and defender Lee Ashcroft making their debuts was star summer signing Charlie Adam.
“It was a good professional performance – exactly what it needed to be,” the Dens gaffer said.
“We saw them last Wednesday night and we knew when the groups were drawn this would be a tricky tie, especially with a difficult pitch and conditions.
“But credit to Brora. I thought they were excellent, turning it around from what they did on Wednesday night.
“They caused us problems, but our boys were really professional and got the job done.
“Probably the big frustration from the game was we weren’t getting on the end of some excellent deliveries from Charlie Adam and Graham Dorrans.
“We should have been better given the aerial threat in the team.
“But we know what Charlie brings and he was excellent again, as he has been since walking into the building in terms of attitude and how he works, his professionalism and his all-round play.”