Midfielder Shaun Byrne has warned that Dundee can’t allow their Tynecastle torment to cast a shadow over their season.
Byrne watched from the bench as the Dens men lost 6-2 to Championship title favourites Hearts on the opening day of their league season last Friday.
It was tough viewing for the 27-year-old former Livingston and Dunfermline man but he insists they have to move on when they face Greenock Morton at home this weekend.
They simply can’t let it hang over their heads, especially not in a shortened season such as this one.
Byrne said: “Obviously, it was a very disappointing start and we expect better from ourselves.
“It is only one game and we have another 26 to go so we can’t let that result define our season.
“We have another big match on Saturday and we have to, hopefully, go out and put it right.
“We need a reaction against Morton and I believe it is really important that we don’t let the Hearts defeat affect us over the remainder of the season.
“It was a bad start and we know that. We were all disappointed.
“It was tough. Hearts got off to a really good start and then kicked on.
“It was also a bit of a reality check.
“We know there will be no easy games in this league but it’s about putting it right now on Saturday.
“If we can win the next couple of games and go on a good run we won’t exactly forget about the Hearts result but we can be positive about the campaign going forward.”
Byrne, now fit after injury, is in contention for a start against Morton having only made a single appearance as a sub against Brora Rangers so far this term.
The midfield man finished last season extremely impressively, playing in six straight matches between the first day of February through to the final home victory over Ayr United on March 10 before the Covid-19 curtain came down.
However, he admits he finds himself in a crowded area of the pitch.
Dundee started Charlie Adam, Graham Dorrans and Fin Robertson in the centre of their side against the Jam Tarts, while Max Anderson came on as a sub for the latter stages.
Byrne is up for the challenge of first grabbing then retaining a jersey, though.
He said: “You want to play every game, obviously, but I hurt my thigh in pre-season.
“We also have other good players in our midfield so I understand why I wasn’t playing against Hearts but it was frustrating to watch.
“We all had our lockdown fitness programmes that we stuck to and I had never had a muscle injury in my entire life.
“I had done all the hard running and it was actually when the ball came out in pre-season that I felt a wee nick in my thigh.
“I tried to come back when I probably wasn’t ready and that set me back a few weeks.
“It is all good now, though, and I’m back to full fitness.
“Hopefully, I can kick on.
“Before I came to Dundee I was used to playing every minute of every game.
“That’s what I want to be able to do here too.
“I want to make sure that when the side is picked mine is one of the first names on the teamsheet.
“The competition in the midfield area is probably the greatest in the entire squad because you have Charlie and Graham, who have obviously played at the highest level.
“There is also young Fin who is top player with a big future and there is Max Anderson, who is pushing everybody as well.
“The midfield is really strong so everyone has to be training hard and perform on the park to be in the team.
“That’s what I intend to do if I get a chance to play.”