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GEORGE CRAN: Last-chance saloon for Dundee to avoid embarrassing comparisons to city’s worst-ever campaigns

From left: Former Dundee manager Jim McIntyre, action from the last derby and ex-Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen.
From left: Former Dundee manager Jim McIntyre, action from the last derby and ex-Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen.

Dundee are heading into the last-chance saloon this weekend.

And there’s no more willing host for a day like that than their fiercest rivals, Dundee United.

It’s not quite revenge for the Doon Derby but it’s probably as close as it is likely to get.

Heading into the split six points adrift at the bottom and with a much poorer goal difference than the teams above them is a really awful position to be in for Dundee.

Not that any Dee needs to be told that.

Unwanted comparisons

For context, the worst season in Dundee’s recent memory, the last relegation, saw the Dark Blues only three points adrift going into the split.

Having any sort of comparison to that team should be enough to spur this set of Dundee players to some sort of result this weekend.

The 2018/19 Premiership table before the end-of-season split.

Because there is much more in this current squad than Jim McIntyre’s side. The points tally tells you that to an extent – McIntyre’s men only had 18 points after 33 games.

But that doesn’t excuse the desperate situation the club finds itself in.

There’s been plenty of self-sabotage over the campaign, I’ve gone over that plenty.

Give something back

But Saturday is a chance for the Dundee squad to really give something back to their long-suffering fans.

And, what a fillip it would be for the whole club to do that at Tannadice.

There’s a reason Dundee haven’t won at United in 18 years – more often than not, the Tangerines have had a better team.

A 2015 Dundee derby.

But, even when the Dark Blues were riding high in the top flight and United were heading down, Dundee still couldn’t win over the road.

There’s a bit of a hoodoo on the Dark Blues at Tannadice.

For context, Mixu Paatelainen’s Dundee United team that went down with a whimper were eight points adrift at the bottom going into the split with 24 points from 33 games.

Dundee currently have 24 points from 32 games.

Embarrassment

So, there is an embarrassment factor here for the Dundee players – even if relegation befalls them, nobody at Dens Park wants to draw comparisons with the worst Premiership campaigns this city has ever seen.

Losing this game leaves Mark McGhee’s side pretty much doomed.

Their only hope is of chasing down St Johnstone to grab the play-off survival lifeline.

Dundee celebrate a goal against Aberdeen at the weekend.

But Saints have targets in mind themselves – St Mirren and Aberdeen are only six points ahead of the Perth side.

They have designs on dragging others right into trouble.

And that’s where the spectre of doom hovers over Dens Park.

The expectation that St Johnstone will go on as badly as they have done up till now could very easily be wrong.

No matter what Dundee do now, their fate could already be sealed.

Fighting chance

But, at the very least, they have to give themselves a chance.

Go down fighting and give some hope next season can be better, even if it’s down a league.

There is a lot riding on Saturday – even if it is too late, Dundee have the opportunity to give their fans a massive lift.

And to avoid comparisons to some of the worst campaigns this city has ever seen.

LEE WILKIE: Derby day brings different pressure – Saturday is must-win for Dundee but must-not-lose for Dundee United

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