Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Dundee decision to sack James McPake had been made BEFORE Hearts victory, admits John Nelms

Former Dundee manager James McPake, managing director John Nelms and current manager Mark McGhee.
Former Dundee manager James McPake, managing director John Nelms and current manager Mark McGhee.

Dundee’s decision to sack James McPake came BEFORE February’s victory over Hearts at Tynecastle.

The Dens Park club shocked many when it chose to dispense with their former captain after two victories and one defeat in six games.

But it was that loss to Ross County at Dens Park on February 5 that cost McPake his job, managing director John Nelms has revealed.

Incoming manager Mark McGhee watched the 2-1 success at Hearts before taking the job on two weeks later.

Heading into this weekend’s home clash with Aberdeen, McGhee is still searching for his first victory after seven matches in charge.

Former Dundee manager James McPake.
Former Dundee manager James McPake.

Dundee’s last win came at Peterhead in McPake’s final match in charge while there was a major outcry among fans when McGhee was appointed.

Asked about the timing of the decision, Nelms said: “Normally, if we were going to make a change we’d wait for an international break, make a change and give the new manager time with the squad.

“We don’t look at anything in a very short, narrow timeframe.

“We beat a team that was ninth in League One and we beat Hearts but the decision had already been made prior to that.

“It was unbelievably difficult to make the change. James is like a son to us, we invested in him and we didn’t go through our usual change protocols.

“We went through the window to give him the best opportunity to succeed but it just didn’t change and it wasn’t in the ascendancy.

“So we made the difficult decision.”

‘Overall picture has worked’

Nelms says he has seen signs of improvement under McGhee and assistant manager Simon Rusk.

The Dark Blues did impress in the first half of their last outing against Rangers but fell to a late defeat.

“I do see that we are better organised,” Nelms said.

Dundee manager Mark McGhee, right, and assistant Simon Rusk.

“I think Mark has been unfortunate with player Covid issues, we’ve had serious injury issues – right now we don’t have our first-choice keeper, centre-back or captain.

“It is hard so I think the overall picture has worked. I think if we had everyone healthy, it would be a different conversation.

“In the first half of the second Rangers game, we got our tactics spot on. They brought on players to lift their level and we just don’t have that.”

‘Unique scenario’

Nelms also revealed there were conversations with other potential managers but McGhee was the man for the “unique scenario” Dundee found themselves in.

Technical director Gordon Strachan played a big role in the decision but Nelms says there were other opinions sought as well.

Asked if there were other candidates: “Yes, there was a list. But it’s a difficult situation because you don’t have the ability to bring in other players.

Mark McGhee is closing in on 1,000 games as a manager.

“It was a unique scenario and some managers relish that sort of challenge.

“We had conversations with others but we came to the conclusion that in this situation, a manager with 980 matches under his belt, has been there and done it and has the backing of Gordon.

“We spoke to others about Mark as well, not just Gordon, and got good reports across the board.”

Fan reaction

Supporters, though, were unimpressed with the arrival of a man who hadn’t managed in Scotland for five years and had a six-game ban hanging over his head.

Was Nelms surprised by the reaction from the fans?

“Yes and no,” he said.

“I think there were about four or five managers wanted by the fans and Mark wasn’t one of them so straight away people aren’t happy because it’s not their guy.

“Just like we were sad to see James go, some won’t have been but others were upset.

“It’s one of those where you have to understand this is the situation we are in and the high-level football people we talked to said this was the best way.

“Once again, it’s a decision made that might not be popular but it’s the best for the organisation.”

GEORGE CRAN: Why some things might change for the better at Dundee and why others won’t after watershed week for club and fans

Already a subscriber? Sign in