Dundee boss James McPake admitted his side have missed skipper Charlie Adam over the last six weeks.
The 35-year-old returned to the staring XI for Saturday’s home clash with Aberdeen after a lengthy injury and put in a Man of the Match display.
And that helped the Dark Blues earn their first league win of the campaign as they saw off the Dons 2-1 at Dens Park.
“Charlie Adam was outstanding,” said McPake, who was sent off at the end of a feisty contest.
“To be out for so long and run the midfield the way he did, spraying the ball about and dictating play.
“He’s a leader and players follow him.
“We’ve missed that, make no mistake.
“He got through 90 minutes but for someone who has played at such a high level and had a very good career, he’s a pleasure to work with.
“He’s always wanting to learn and it’s a pleasure to have him at this football club.”
‘When we perform like that, we’re a match for anybody’
For much of the season, Dundee have been putting in good performances but without the results to match.
And the Dens gaffer was delighted to see his side get their just rewards for another positive display.
“I’m delighted for them all, they deserved it,” McPake added.
Dundee finally secured their first league win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Aberdeen at Dens Park, to move off the foot of the table! pic.twitter.com/EtQoIoTNlq
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) October 16, 2021
“I’ve been sick saying we didn’t get what we deserved out of the game. We got what we deserved on Saturday.
“We made it hard for ourselves by letting them back into the game when we shouldn’t have.
“But I genuinely don’t care, we got the three points.
“When we perform like that, we are a match for anybody.”
Special mention for defence
He added: “Everyone did their piece. We defended our box really well.
“A special mention must go to our two centre-backs, dealing with Ramirez and heading everything away.
“Lee Ashcroft didn’t want to come off despite splitting his head. He’s a defender you’d take anywhere, as is Ryan Sweeney.
“Cammy Kerr was outstanding against Jonny Hayes and Jordan Marshall was Jordan Marshall, you know what you’re getting every week.
“I couldn’t pick anybody out and I don’t want to because they deserve that as a group.
“That one was for the fans – I think if there’s anybody we pick out it’s the fans.
“It was a big win for us in front of a very good crowd.”
McPake, though, finished the match with his second red card of the season.
As the contest headed into stoppage time, the Dens boss threw the ball away from Aberdeen defender Jack Mackenzie.
That then sparked some pushing and shoving in the Dundee dugout. McPake, though, was the one punished for the incident.
“I’ll let everyone else decide when they see it,” McPake said.
“It was a heated game which these games are.
“Unfortunately I got another red card but I don’t know if I deserved it or not.”