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‘There is something brewing here’: Paul McGowan says St Mirren point showed Dundee’s new fighting spirit

Paul McGowan
Paul McGowan

Paul McGowan has seen it all in the past seven seasons at Dundee.

But this year things are different.

In the past, some Dark Blues sides would crumble at the slightest setback.

In their opening Premiership fixture against St Mirren they suffered more than one.

Going behind early to their opponents’ first effort on goal, losing striker Danny Mullen to injury, conceding from a debatable penalty, going down to 10 men… the Dee didn’t have their problems to seek.

This Dens side, though, rolled up their sleeves and fought their way back into the game, not once, but twice.

Dundee equalise against St Mirren through an own goal.

With a man less, they kept themselves in the contest and came away with a hard-fought point to kick off their return to the top flight.

That extended their impressive recent run of form to just two defeats in 18 matches.

‘The big decisions went against us’

And McGowan says the manner in which they earned the point speaks volumes for the spirit in the camp after promotion last season.

“I think in the circumstances, the way the match went, it’s probably a good point,” he said.

“I felt we were hard done by – the big decisions went against us.

Max Anderson (No 24) sees red.

“Danny got injured and everything seemed against us. The penalty was very harsh. Maxy (Max Anderson) was sent off.

“Fair play to the boys. Over the past five, six months there has been something brewing in there.

“I feel now going out to play we aren’t going to lose. Obviously we will lose games but that’s the feeling we have right now. Even when going a goal down.

I’ve been in squads here where you go a goal down and the heads just go, the fans get on us and we go as a team. That’s not the case any more.

“You could see on Saturday we were still trying to win the game with 10 men, fighting for each other.

“I think if we’d have kept 11 men I’m confident we would have won that game but we dug deep and it’s a good point in the end.”

‘We are fighting for each other’

McGowan is beginning his eighth season with Dundee and says the current crop of players at Dens Park is one of the best he’s been part of.

The spirit has been built on an incredible end to last season that saw the Dens Park side roar into second place and up through the play-offs.

When things go against them on the park they have the grit and determination to get over those hurdles.

That also applies off the park, with the past week or so a real challenge for all at the club.

Following a positive Covid case among the squad, another five first-team players were required to self-isolate.

None of the six were involved in training in the week leading up to the St Mirren match.

“It’s not been a nice week,” McGowan said.

We’ve been training with 10 bodies at times. We came in after the positive test and boys are getting sent home because they were sitting next to each other on the bus.

“There’s been a bit of uproar but fair play to the boys because we had a few injuries as well to contend with.

“There’s togetherness. There is something about us now. We are fighting for each other and it is a great group.

Paul McGowan (right) signed for Dundee in 2014.

“I’m into my eighth season here but this is probably one of the best groups I’ve been part of.

“The manager and Dave Mackay work tirelessly in training and we all know we have a good thing here.

Six-seven months ago away to Ayr would I have thought that? Of course not.

“It’s a totally different mindset. We’ve added quality and the squad is strong. Once we get everybody back fit we have competition for places.

“It’s a good place to be at the moment.”

Max Anderson ‘can go as far as he wants’

McGowan also had a word of praise for midfielder Anderson, despite the 20-year-old’s red card against the Buddies.

With Eamonn Brophy breaking away and not many Dundee bodies back, the youngster took the St Mirren man down midway inside the visitors’ half.

Though it was a rash moment, McGowan says it’s one Anderson will learn from.

Max Anderson takes on Charles Dunne.

“He’s been told to stop the play. Maybe he could have done it in a more subtle way but he’ll learn from that.

“He’s a kid and a top kid. He has huge ability. Max can go as far as he wants if he keeps his head down. He does that, too, he works hard.

“He took one for the team there – they could have went and scored there.

“If I were him, I would have done exactly the same thing.”

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