‘Goals win games’ is the truest, if most obvious, adage in football.
Dundee, Dundee United and St Johnstone know this only too well, since a lack of them has been a major impediment to their hopes this season.
Good strikers are priceless in football. That’s why they’re so eagerly sought after and attract premium rates.
In Leigh Griffiths, Dundee fixed their hopes on a prince who has become a pauper in front of the posts and failed to deliver.
Griffiths’ time at Dens has proven to be an impoverished one, with just two goals in 14 outings.
For a player who feasted on chances in his best days at Celtic that’s a starvation diet.
Dark Blues boss James McPake was entitled to hope for a much better return from his loan signing, whose future career prospects are uncertain after his uninspiring stint in Dark Blue.
Dundee United and Saints will hope to fare much better with the front men they’ve identified as potential answers to their respective goal famines.
Tony Watt is Motherwell’s top scorer, finding the net 10 times this season.
Watt offers goals along with craft and guile once he pitches up at Tannadice, where United’s impressive early season form has evaporated with five straight defeats and just one win in their last ten matches.
Tam Courts’ team has managed only 16 goals in 20 league games, so a striker of real quality – which they’ve not had since Lawrence Shankland’s departure – is an absolute requirement to get the side back on track.
Saints have meantime turned to an ex-United man in Nadir Ciftci to solve their striking issues.
If he retains his radar for goal, which saw him net 33 times in 82 appearances for United, then Callum Davidson will have made a very shrewd signing until the end of the season.
But all three bosses will be looking to add more than just firepower to their squads and, with Saints capturing full-back Tony Gallacher from Liverpool and central defender Dan Cleary from Dundalk, as well as formalising the deal for midfielder Ali Crawford, Callum Davidson has strengthened right through the spine of the team.
The Saints boss must now hope for a swift recalibration to lift his side off the bottom of the table after their galling, post-cup double fall from grace.
United have shored up arguably their strongest position in bringing former Mjallby AIF keeper Carljohan Eriksson in to challenge Benjamin Siegrist between the sticks.
If they can get Watt during this transfer window then Courts may see his side re-find the form they showed before their recent travails.
Dundee, having tasted five defeats on the bounce, desperately need fresh faces and renewed fortitude to skip clear of the increasingly grim battle at the wrong end of the Premiership.
That relegation scrap looks very likely to go the wire, so any new bodies must be up for the fight and utterly thirled to the cause.
As Dark Blues fans have witnessed recently, talent without application is talent wasted.
What Dundee need now are players with the commitment of someone like Cammy Kerr, who plays for the jersey and out of his skin every time he pulls on the dark blue.