Manager James McPake says Charlie Adam will play a “massive part” in Dundee’s play-off promotion push and insists there has been no fall-out between the pair.
The Dark Blues captain has had to settle for a place among the substitutes in recent weeks after recovering from Covid-19.
The former Scotland man was left on the bench during the 0-0 draw at Dunfermline last week but made a real impact as a second-half substitute at Inverness on Tuesday.
However, McPake says there is more than just physical fitness to consider when giving Adam his first league start in over a month.
And he revealed he’d had people asking if there had been a fall-out between the pair over the past few weeks.
Nothing could be further from the truth, though.
“I’ve had people asking me if there’s been a fall-out – absolutely not, Charlie has been different class from the first time he walked through the door,” said McPake.
“On a personal note, we all know the issues he’s had. But he still trained and was great around the place.
“I know when I lost my dad football got me away from it but then you crash a wee bit down the line. I’m not saying that happened with Charlie but we need to look after him as a person.
“Then he got Covid. He’s been through a lot.
“He’s disappointed not to play and I love that attitude.
“But what I will say is when he’s not playing, Charlie is the first one celebrating a goal, the first to congratulate his team-mates after games.
“He’s desperate for this club to do well.”
‘We need him’
McPake continued: “Let’s be honest, he changed the game on Tuesday. I thought he was outstanding.
“We’ll need him between now and the end of the season because he’s a huge player for this club.
“He proved that again on Tuesday night.
“I’ve had a few different people phoning and asking what happened with your argument with Charlie? I don’t know, you’d have to ask whoever made that story up.
“There’s never been any argument. We have conversations manager to player, like anyone.
“We demand from him because he’s such a good player and he hits those standards.
“You could see on Tuesday he’s desperate to play and do well for this club.
“He’s been brilliant with myself, all the coaches and all the players.
“I genuinely love him as a person around the club for what he brings. He’s a real top pro and I’m delighted he’s here.
“That doesn’t mean he’ll play every week.
“He accepted the team did well without him and he was first to congratulate everybody after that win at Alloa.
“I thought that was brilliant. He’d have been devastated not to play but he’s the first to congratulate the boys.
“Charlie is a massive part of this football club and will be a massive part of where we end up this season.”
Dundee ‘due a few’ decisions
Next up for the Dark Blues is a crucial clash with second-placed Raith Rovers at Dens Park.
Dundee are unbeaten in six league games after their third consecutive draw on Tuesday night.
Jason Cummings had a potential opening goal ruled out for offside up in the Highlands, a goal McPake is certain would have seen his team go on to pick up all three points.
However, it didn’t count and the Dens boss is hoping for better luck with officials this weekend after having three goals disallowed in their last five games.
“They say it all evens out but it is a cliché and I don’t believe it,” he added.
“Look back at the recent weeks: Zander Clark drops it, Osman Sow against Morton and then the one the other night.
“It evens itself out? If that’s the case, we’re due a few goals then.
“But I don’t want to rely on that – I want to earn it.”
The Dens boss also revealed he’s talked with referee chief Crawford Allan about the decision in midweek.
“I had a good conversation with Crawford Allan who does a very hard job”, said McPake.
“He’s been good with his explanations but unfortunately they don’t help us get more points.
“It’s irrelevant now and people make mistakes but unfortunately when I or one of my players make a mistake we are hung out to dry.
“It’s not all down to referees but these decisions are so important.
“They can’t just guess but I think that’s what they’ve done to disallow a very good goal from Jason Cummings.”