It is full-on squeaky-bum time for Dundee right now.
Never mind their travails in the transfer market in trying to get new faces in the door, they have an absolutely gargantuan couple of weeks on the pitch to contend with.
It’s difficult to come up with an adjective to describe how vital tonight’s match at
St Johnstone is.
‘Big’, ‘huge’, ‘massive’ don’t seem to do the magnitude of this game justice.
Only something like ‘gargantuan’ or ‘colossal’ will do.
For me, anyway. I’m a newspaper writer, I can’t help myself. . .
Bottom against second-bottom and the threat of being cut adrift for the team on the losing side of the result makes this one a giant of a fixture.
Even a draw would leave both clubs adrift of the rest.
But it’s also a major, major moment for both managers.
Dundee have lost six league games in a row while Saints have lost their last 10 in all competitions.
Fans of both are unhappy, to say the least.
And at least one set of supporters will be furious come the final whistle.
How much that extends to action from the boardroom of either side remains to be seen.
But it certainly won’t do the job security of either James McPake or Callum Davidson any good to continue those losing runs.
Suffer defeat and any patience left in the majority of fans is likely to disappear.
The Dark Blues, though, did give themselves a lift at the weekend.
Nothing pretty about the win at Dumbarton but it was a victory and a clean sheet and a place in the next round.
Stopping the run of straight defeats was absolutely crucial – just look at St Johnstone after their defeat at Kelty Hearts, it is full-blown crisis there.
Bringing in Niall McGinn, too, will be a lift to everyone in that squad.
Maybe not for the individual who has to sit on the bench, if he gets a start.
But bringing in a good, experienced player like him is a boost to a squad at a fairly low ebb after a tough run.
We are delighted to announce the signing of Niall McGinn on a 18 month deal #thedee
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) January 24, 2022
I expect McGinn to add a bit of life, a bit of vibrancy and drive to the side that had maybe ebbed away of late.
The arrival of Jay Chapman, too, helps. However, we may have to wait a little to see him in action since he’s not played since November.
Saints, of course, have added some new boys themselves. One is Nadir Ciftci, a villain to Dark Blues if ever there was one.
Have St Johnstone signed the Dundee United Ciftci or the Celtic one?
He’ll certainly test the Dundee backline in some way. That word was ‘test’ not ‘taste’, by the way, before anyone reading misreads it. . .
Adding to that intrigue is that Ciftci was very close to joining Dundee in the summer, only for manager McPake to axe the deal in favour of signing Cillian Sheridan.
Dees may scoff at that but it’s true.
Keeping Ciftci quiet will be key but more important to me is Dundee pressurise Saints.
Get Paul McMullan going and test that backline.
St Johnstone are fragile and the fans are on the brink – Dundee need to use that to their advantage in this biggest of big games.