Charlie Adam has revealed tears among the Dundee players in the dressing-room after a 2-0 defeat to Ayr in November changed their season.
The Dark Blues welcome the Honest Men to Dens Park this afternoon looking to put right that loss in what was the low point of a disappointing start to the campaign.
The former Rangers and Liverpool man – who this week was named the December Player of the Month in the Championship – says there were fears of a relegation battle rather than a promotion bid after picking up just one win in their opening five games.
Since then Dundee have been unbeaten in the league, picking up 14 points from a possible 18, and seeing off league leaders Hearts with a vital 3-1 victory in their last league outing.
And Adam has credited a full and frank assessment of their performances up to that point in a team meeting that followed for their resurgence in form.
He said: “Sometimes in life you need a few home truths to see the reality of what was going on.
“It was a tough time. If you look at the position where we were then – and we’re not taking our position now for granted – but we were sitting eighth in the league and people were thinking of relegation instead of promotion. That’s where we were at the time.
“But one moment can change your season and that’s what did it.
“We just kicked on since then and we can’t wait for the next game. It will be tough against Ayr.
“Is it revenge? No, it’s just another team that is in our way.”
Of the meeting, he said: “It was good, it was passionate.
“There were a few tears in the dressing-room, tears that showed that passion which was good to see. We are a stronger group now after that.
“It was nothing personal but you can see now we are a group who are fighting for each other.
“Going back to last Saturday (against Bonnyrigg) it wasn’t pretty but we never gave up and hung in until the last seconds of the game.
“There is a spirit in this football club at the moment.
“Look at our players now, we are playing with confidence and we have a settled side.”
Player of the Month
This week Adam picked up his first trophy as a Dundee player saying he hopes “it’s not the last” after being named the December Player of the Month.
Surprisingly it’s only the second such award he’s won since beginning his career at Rangers almost 17 years ago.
He admits he wasn’t expecting it but was quick to point out the contribution of his team-mates over the past few weeks.
Adam has been given the captain’s armband in recent weeks and says the added responsibility has taken his “game to another level”.
“I’m surprised actually,” he said.
“You never think you are going to get these individual awards but it is great to be recognised. We are on a good run and we are enjoying playing.
“It is a recognition of what we have done in the last six or seven weeks as a team.
“I think I’ve only won one before – a Championship one down south when I was at Blackpool.
I was nominated for the Player of the Year in the Premier League when I was at Blackpool but I’ve only won Player of the Month once.
“Listen, it is nice recognition but when you talk of the form of the team as a group we have definitely picked up in the last few weeks.
“I have tried to lead by example since I’ve been given the armband.
“That was something I tried to do at the start of the season but I think that responsibility has taken my game to another level.
“I am really enjoying playing and the results are showing that. But it is only a small step and the long-term aim is to get promotion.”
Adam, meanwhile, had strong words of support for team-mate Jonathan Afolabi after the Celtic loanee was subject to vile racist abuse on social media following his last-minute equaliser against Bonnyrigg Rose.
And the former Scotland international insists something needs to be done to protect people from online abuse or else a valuable means of interaction between footballers and fans will be lost.
“What he received, as a young player starting out his career is disgusting,” Adam said.
“These people need to be found and banned. Like people have been talking about, we need to find a way to identify these people because if you don’t footballers will just go away from social media.
“Whether you need a passport or driving licence to get on there, that’s the way forward. Because it can be great for footballers to interact with supporters. Especially for a club like us.
“At the moment they can’t see us play live on the pitch so if they can interact in other ways that’s great.
“But to receive that from idiots who hide behind a keyboard is disgusting. The support is here for him, though, from the club, the manager and the players will be beside him no matter what.”
He added: “Jonathan has had some injuries here and he’s just looking to see if he can get a run of games and score some goals.
“He’s got the attributes and just needs to get a consistent number of games going – hopefully that goal last week can get him going.”