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JIM SPENCE: Mark McGhee may be starving ahead of St Johnstone clash – but it’s Dundee players who must show hunger

Dundee manager Mark McGhee.
Dundee manager Mark McGhee.

Mark McGhee’s off the wall amateur psychology to focus the Dundee players on their task of avoiding relegation was entertaining.

Whether it has any effect, only time will tell, but the players shouldn’t need any fresh motivation to escape a situation they themselves are responsible for.

The boss keeping the heating off and cutting the calories makes an appetising headline, but what’s required in the last five games is a ravenous hunger to remain in the top league.

Dundee boss Mark McGhee had done some eye-catching media work ahead of St Johnstone clash

Dundee may already have bitten off more than they can chew in hoping they can overcome their position at the bottom of the Premiership and, if St Johnstone win at Dens to give them an eight-point lead over their rivals, it’ll leave the Dee facing an almost certain menu of Championship football next season.

Saints boss Callum Davidson has felt no need to either pass on the pudding or to save on the heating bills, but his team, like their opponents, shouldn’t need any managerial gimmicks as they fight to save their top league status.

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson with Mark McGhee as part of Gordon Strachan’s Scotland setup in 2017

This looks like do or die for Dundee, who are 11 points adrift of St Mirren, with the Perth Saints surely their only possible catchable opponents.

Even then they can realistically only secure a danger-laden play-off place.

Unlike Mark McGhee, both sets of players need all the heat and energy they can muster for this game.

They need to keep their thermostats high and their calorie count higher.

Dundee United star Tony Watt has been a valuable addition – but has not hit the net as regularly as hoped

Dundee United must scour their football contacts for a striker who can rattle the net regularly.

This season has been successful, with a top six finish and a European spot in reach.

But it could’ve been more rewarding had they found a target man who carried constant goal threat.

It’s one thing to recognise this, it’s another thing entirely to find the right recruit, because guaranteed goal machines are worth their weight in gold and command the best wages in the game at their various levels.

Nicky Clark celebrates with United fans after his opening goal against Dundee

Tam Courts has put together a side which, on its day, can match the best in the league and, when on song, also give the big Glasgow two a competitive game.

A striker of real quality, though, would take them to the next level.

That must be United’s key target to continue their onward progress.

Mark McGhee will ‘go naked for a week’ if Dundee beat St Johnstone

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