James McPake says Dundee’s 1-0 win over Morton at the weekend was “as comfortable a defensive performance as a team” as he’s seen in his time in charge at Dens Park.
And he’s rejected Ton boss David Hopkin’s appraisal of the game where he felt his side deserved not just a draw but all three points, saying “we looked the better team, we looked fitter, we looked organised and caused Dundee problems” in his post-match media interview.
Jonathan Afolabi’s early goal gave the Dark Blues their first league win of the season after a heavy defeat in their opening fixture at Hearts.
And McPake was delighted with the defensive work put in by his team as they kept out a Ton side who had only lost one of their previous 11 fixtures.
Asked about Hopkin’s comments, McPake responded: “It makes no difference to me.
“He clearly didn’t watch the game that we all watched.
“I always watch the game again on Sunday and we controlled it. We limited them to the minimum of chances which was pleasing.
“There was one set play we were poor at and they had a couple of half chances.
“But that’s as comfortable a defensive performance as a team as we have had at Dens, certainly in my time here and especially after conceding six the previous week.
“So he was maybe just a bit annoyed after the game. Emotions are high and sometimes you don’t say what you are really thinking or feeling as he certainly couldn’t have been feeling that.”
He added: “They certainly aren’t fitter.
“Look, he is hurting that they have lost the game. They were on an unbeaten run.
“There is a pride there as well. They want to win every game.
“He is a good manager and has got out of this league with a different club before but I don’t think his comments were really true. Anyone who saw the game knows that.
“I don’t need to fire back. We got the three points from a confident, dominant performance.
“It was really pleasing after what happened before.”
Looking back, that’s the pleasing thing – after such a poor performance and a heavy defeat the previous week, we did hold out.
After conceding six the previous week, Dundee showed resilience to stand up to Morton and keep the clean sheet, something that delighted the Dens gaffer.
“Looking back, that’s the pleasing thing – after such a poor performance and a heavy defeat the previous week, we did hold out,” McPake added.
“I thought we looked solid enough and were comfortable in the game. I was really pleased with that.
“The start of last season, I don’t know if that’s a game we would have won, particularly after a bad defeat.
“We weren’t very resilient and we couldn’t get the levels up quickly enough.
“On Saturday, we started the game very well which was pleasing.
“We dictated most of the game but when they went down to 10 men was probably when they had the most chances.
“They threw caution to the wind. A goal down with five minutes to go, they were throwing everything at it. Shape goes out the window looking for that goal.
“But we held out well.”