Jason Cummings insists he has returned to Scottish football determined to prove there is still plenty of life left in the not-so-old “Cumdog.”
The confident former Hibs striker admits things could have gone a whole lot better for him during nearly four years in English football.
The coronavirus pandemic ensured his onfield struggle for game time was magnified off the pitch and left him feeling lonely and pining for a return north of the border.
But the Scotland cap, who famously created his Cumdog alias to take on Scottish wrestler Grado during his Hibs days, has no regrets over his stints with Nottingham Forest and Shrewsbury Town, plus loans with Rangers, Peterborough and Luton Town.
And he rejects any suggestions his career is in need of a desperate pick-me-up after penning an 18-month deal at Dens Park.
He said: “I wouldn’t say so. I know some people might say that but I`m still confident and I wouldn’t say my career is dead!
“Resurrection is if you’ve died.
“I’ve not died, I’m still only 25. I’m not like, ‘This is your last chance’ or anything like that.
“People can say all those things but I’m just here to enjoy football and enjoy my life. I’m back with my family, that’s it.
“To be honest, I wasn’t playing, so I had to go somewhere.
“I’m 25 and it’s not like I’m young or that old – I’m at that age where I should be playing every week.
“I really wanted to come home. I had four seasons down south and it was good.
“I had some good times and a few good games,” he added.
“But I just hit a brick wall. I was missing home and I wanted to come back up.
“There were a couple of teams keen but it made sense coming here with the gaffer and the boys.”
Cummings was a teammate of Dundee boss James McPake and defender Liam Fontaine at Hibs and felt Dundee was the right fit on his return to Scotland.
And he employed his usual colourful language when describing his desire to come home last week.
Escape from ‘Alcatraz’
He added: “When I heard it was getting announced and I knew I was signing, I just felt excitement and relief.
“It was a wee bit like I was escaping from Alcatraz, if I’m honest!
“That’s nothing to do with Shrewsbury – they were brilliant with me and it’s a good club – it was just me personally.
“Covid didn’t help and I know everyone is in the same boat and it can make people feel a wee bit alone and lonely.
“But when you are six hours down the road in the middle of nowhere…your family and your mates are nowhere near you.
“It was just my life away from football and that’s the main reason I came back up the road.
“A lot of people say, ‘You should never have left Hibs’ but, nah, I’ve got no regrets about going down there.
“I had a good time, played in some good grounds alongside and against some good players and I gained a lot of experience.
“It helped me build character too. People said I was a big character back in the day but I’m an ever bigger one now with all the experiences I’ve been through.
“I’ve seen it all and I’m just happy to be home now.”
Cummings was introduced for his debut in the second half at Stark’s Park but could not help inspire a comeback.
The Dark Blues had surged in front when fellow debutant Paul McMullan brilliantly set up Osman Sow for a fifth-minute volley.
But former Dundee defender Kyle Benedictus headed in the equaliser midway through the first half when the visitors were caught out by Raith’s short-corner routine.
Thereafter, Rovers got into their groove and they sealed victory after the break to go into second spot in the Championship table.
Reghan Tumilty blasted in a stunning second from 30 yards out early in the second-half before on-loan Rangers winger Kai Kennedy curled in a superb third on the hour mark.
It added up to a first defeat in nine games for the Dens Park men but Cummings is convinced they can shake off the disappointment and still reach their ultimate goal this term.
He went on: “I’m capable of playing in the Premiership but I’m looking at the boys here and, with the calibre of player we have, we should be in that top league.
“I’ll do everything I can and I know the boys will, too, to try to get us promoted this season. That’s the main aim and we are more than capable of doing that.
“Obviously, we had a little slip-up against Raith Rovers but we go again and we need to put things right next week.
“We’re all on the same page in that we want to go up and we know we are capable of going up.”