Dundee were fired up ahead of their impressive 3-0 victory at Ayr United after “disrespectful” comments from Honest Men boss David Hopkin.
James McPake revealed his players had been smarting from the Ayr manager’s assessment of a 3-1 victory at Dens Park last month and following a win over Hopkin’s old side Morton at the start of the campaign.
The Dark Blues gaffer says that was the fuel that fired his side to move level with Raith Rovers in second place.
Second-half goals from Max Anderson, Jonathan Afolabi and a fine third from Paul McGowan earned a massive three points for McPake’s men.
“I’m pleased for my players, they got everything out of that game that they deserved,” McPake said.
“Three weeks ago tonight we got turned over with the same team playing the exact same way.
“We were a bit naïve that night – that was never going to happen again.
“We’ll not get bullied again and we’ve learned how to play a team that go route one. They are effective at that but the quality shone through from us.”
McPake said of Hopkin: “He’s been disrespectful to our team on a couple of occasions, last season and this season.
“Our players knew that and that’s why I knew it would be a different Dundee tonight because I’d seen how fired up our players were.
“You need to fight against his (David Hopkin’s) teams because that’s what they do – that’s not being disrespectful because he’s got a team out of this league before and I haven’t.
“The first hour, we dug deep and then the better quality shone through with fantastic goals – Max Anderson with another, McGowan does great for Jonathan Afolabi’s goal and then the Goal of the Season, in my opinion.
“It’ll certainly be a better journey up the road this time.”