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DUNDEE ANALYSIS: Timing couldn’t be better for the Dark Blues

Jason Cummings celebrates in Dumfries.
Jason Cummings celebrates in Dumfries.

Sometimes the best things in life aren’t about how you get there but more about when you arrive.

And Dundee have timed their peak in the league season to perfection, bypassing their rivals at the final hurdle to finish in second spot.

For the Dark Blues have only found themselves in second place after one matchday this term – matchday 27, the final one.

In fact, you have to go all the way back to matchday two of last term to see James McPake’s side that high in the Championship table.

Dundee boss James McPake at Palmerston.

Forever the key to play-off football is momentum and form and Dundee most certainly have that on their side – eight unbeaten, five wins and three draws.

They’ve defeated both play-off rivals Raith Rovers and Dunfermline in that run, too.

Challenging big favourites Hearts was the target at the start of the campaign, pretty quickly, though, that looked a forlorn hope.

However, a route back to the Premiership still exists through the play-offs and the Dark Blues have given themselves the best possible chance of navigating that journey.

Their 2-0 win at Queen of the South on Friday night may not have been a classic but it was a thoroughly professional job done well.

Jason Cummings, as he does, is coming up with the big goals he was brought to the club to provide.

The two-time Scotland international has eight in 16 appearances since arriving from Shrewsbury Town.

And is no doubt a man for the big occasion play-off football can provide.

Manager McPake deserves credit

Manager McPake also deserves credit for ploughing through the difficult times and pressure that’s come his way.

He identified the need for a finisher and found a way to get Cummings through the door in January.

He has made changes that have improved his team during matches that have helped during the recent run.

The Dens boss also eschewed any arrogance of being the ‘bigger team’ against Raith Rovers last weekend and did a job, as they say, on John McGlynn’s side.

A good passing team deservedly sitting in second place at the time, McPake set up his side to do what they needed to do to get a result.

They got it and what a huge result it has proved to be.

Paul McMullan celebrates with Liam Fontaine as Dundee went 2-0 up against Raith.

Though it will mean nothing if they don’t at least get themselves to the play-off final.

Over the 27-game season Dundee have proved themselves to be the second strongest team in the Championship over regular league football.

Now a different task awaits, patiently awaiting the winner of Raith and Dunfermline safe in the knowledge they’ll be rested and back to full strength.

The carrot of Premiership football is dangling in front of their eyes but so too is a potential play-off final with Dees possibly cheering them on from the stands.

The timing could be perfect for the long-suffering Dens Park faithful, too.

 

Dundee have come to the fore at the right time says boss James McPake after seeing his side take second place on the final day

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