Dundee boss James McPake saw “promising signs” from his side’s defending at Easter Road but wants more from his attack on Saturday at home to Arbroath.
The Dens Park boss says people will have expected his side to collapse at Hibs once more after conceding shortly before half-time.
However, he insists his side are made of sterner stuff now they have more options to choose from, though they were unable to prevent a 1-0 defeat in the Betfred Cup.
New signing Liam Fontaine made his first start alongside Lee Ashcroft, who missed the previous trip to Hibs with coronavirus, in central defence.
McPake said: “There were real promising signs.
“Hibs are a top side and fighting for the top three in the Premiership.
“As a team we were compact and resolute – everything we hadn’t been the week before.
“Fontaine was excellent in the game, as was Lee Ashcroft.
“I thought the two of them handled (Kevin) Nisbet and (Christian) Doidge really well. The goal was the one moment and there was a bit of bad luck about that but everything else in the game they handled.
“Jordan Marshall did really well against Martin Boyle and Christie Elliott too was good on the right.
“Just compare that to Ayr and that’s why I was pleased.
“Seeing the goal go in after 43 minutes, I know people would’ve thought we’d capitulate again because that’s what people think of us at the minute. That’s not the case.
“Getting these players back is a massive boost and, as a team, we were really good.
“We did our jobs properly, the shape was good but we just didn’t do enough in the final third.
“They are a good team and defended well.
“Ultimately we lost the game but the performance was night and day from Ayr United.”
As well as Fontaine and Ashcroft coming into the team, McPake welcomed back Jonathan Afolabi and Jordon Forster to the squad with Alex Jakubiak making his first start.
Striker Danny Mullen will also return this weekend when Arbroath check in at Dens Park.
And McPake admits he’s been getting more rest lately with options to choose from once more.
“It is encouraging,” he said.
“We lost Graham Dorrans but I believe the business we have done has been good.
“You could see Fontaine’s quality on Saturday and that was him not having started a game since March.
“Having Jakubiak back as well is massive. I was really keen to get him in the summer.
It’s really important we get Jakubiak up to speed quickly because when he’s at it he’s a proper footballer.
“Having these players back is what is allowing me to sleep better at night.
“We have to kick on now. The Hibs game is gone, we got nothing out of the game.
“We need to take that performance – and a bit more – into Saturday.
“That’s what we need to do consistently, we need to perform at a much higher level than we have.
“Talk is cheap – we need to do it out on the pitch at Dens on Saturday.
“Play with that intensity, the drive and nastiness we had about us at the weekend.”