What a huge game St Mirren was for Dundee manager James McPake.
There was a whole lot of flak heading his way – and his team’s way, too – after last week’s disaster against Ross County.
With Celtic up next before the international break, the Dens boss needed something from his team.
Pressure from the stands was rising because of the manner of their loss to the Staggies.
That 5-0 reverse ended up being a terrible combination of Dundee defending very poorly and County finishing extremely well.
Everything fell for the Highlanders and they notched a massive win.
Pressure mounted on McPake, of course.
And it would be very telling how his team went about things in Paisley on Saturday.
McPake couldn’t have asked for more
What was clear from the performance was the players are 100% playing for their manager.
They were playing for their own pride, too, after the County defeat.
After being opened up so easily just three days before, the Dark Blues showed real defensive organisation to earn their clean sheet.
There was a determination in their play on Saturday that was sorely lacking in the match before.
By no means was it a world-beater performance but it was a good, battling display.
From the manager’s point of view, he couldn’t have asked for more.
St Mirren were quite poor on the day but Dundee stifled them for much of the game.
The difference between the two games was huge.
And McPake needed it.
Often in that sort of situation you’d see a reaction from the team for the first 20 minutes.
If they weren’t playing for the manager then cracks would appear after that and things would start to fall away.
There was none of that.
They won tackles, they won headers, the midfield pressed well and the players gave absolutely everything to get the result.
Epitomising the performance was winger Paul McMullan.
He was the man hooked after just 37 minutes against Ross County and could easily have taken the huff.
Whether he was pulled off to one side by McPake and the situation was explained as a tactical thing or McMullan was out to prove his manager wrong, fair play to the winger for the way he’s gone about things.
There’s no doubt Dundee will be fighting it out in the bottom half for at least the next while, if not all season.
They can’t afford to have players go off in the huff.
The same goes for the likes of Leigh Griffiths and Jason Cummings who were both left on the bench on Saturday.
That showed McPake isn’t scared to make the big decisions and he was proved right.
Now they have to react.
And the entire team need to be on their game next week with Celtic in town.
The win at St Mirren, though, has dialled down the pressure on that one.