It doesn’t take a genius to work out Charlie Adam is a crucial cog in the Dundee machine.
The Dens Park captain dragged the side up from the Championship through the play-offs.
And he’s proved a dominant force for the Dark Blues in the Premiership this season, too.
Having played over 200 times in the English Premier League for Blackpool, Liverpool and Stoke, Adam is a big personality in the Dundee midfield.
And leaves a leadership void when he’s not on the field for his boyhood club.
So, halfway through the season, just how important is Charlie Adam to Dundee?
Play well, play badly, enjoy good luck, decry bad luck – the only thing that truly matters come the end of the season is how many points you have on the board.
And the difference between Dundee with Charlie Adam and Dundee without Charlie Adam is stark.
— SPFL (@spfl) December 18, 2021
So far, the Dark Blues have earned 16 points in the Premiership.
Only one of those was picked up without Adam.
The 0-0 home draw with Livingston in September is the only time an Adam-less Dundee avoided defeat in the league this season.
Just as galling as the points total without their captain, goals have been a huge issue, too.
Of the 17 scored by the Dark Blues in the top flight, 16 were netted in games involving Adam.
It must be said that that stat also includes Luke McCowan’s two at Ross County, Lee Ashcroft’s header against Celtic and Paul McGowan’s leveller against Hibs, all scored after Adam had been substituted.
Even so, with 12 of their 17 goals scored with Adam on the pitch, the loss of their skipper’s creativity has had a huge effect on the team’s goal return.
On the other hand, the goals against column makes much better reading when Adam doesn’t feature.
When Adam wasn’t involved this season, Dundee have conceded seven goals in six games.
With him in the team, that number balloons to 28 in 13. An average of 2.2 goals per game.
Mitigating that number were nine scored after he was substituted in games against Ross County, Rangers, Motherwell and Celtic.
That brings it down to 19 in 13 matches with Adam on the pitch, still an average of 1.5 goals per game conceded.
That’s compared to 1.2 in the games he didn’t feature at all.
Comparing some of the other numbers doesn’t show quite as big a difference with and without the skipper, though there are hints as to why he’s been so important.
Dundee actually keep possession better when Adam isn’t in the midfield (42% to 38%) and passing accuracy is better (49% with Adam, 52% without).
That may be surprising given his technical ability.
What it does point to is Adam’s willingness to play risky passes, trying killer balls and backing himself to open up defences.
In essence, Dundee play a bit safer without Adam but don’t get the goal return either.
It’s clear from the basic stats, Adam’s fitness is crucial to Dundee success this season.
The points difference really is quite staggering.
However, at 36 and with two muscle injuries already picked up this season, there’s no guarantee he’ll stay injury-free.
That means Dundee need to find a way to pick up points when their talisman isn’t around.
Starting Sunday at Aberdeen.