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Dundee need 21st-century miracle to beat drop – but one ex-Dee who won four-in-a-row at Dens says survival chance remains

Former Dundee striker Eddie Annand.
Former Dundee striker Eddie Annand.

Dundee are in need of a 21st century miracle if they are to extend their Premiership stay beyond a single season.

To survive the relegation battle, the Dark Blues now need something approaching a perfect finish to the campaign.

Four matches left and players have admitted they need to win all four of them to stay up.

That, though, hasn’t happened for any Dundee team this century.

Four in a row

Eddie Annand celebrates after scoring for Dundee

The last time a Dens Park side won four top-flight matches on the bounce was back in 1999 as Jocky Scott led the side to a fifth-place finish.

Kilmarnock, Dundee United, Aberdeen and Dunfermline were all seen off in the spring of ’99.

Finishing top scorer that season was striker Eddie Annand, ahead of the likes of James Grady, Willie Falconer and Tommy Coyne.

Though he admits the current Dundee side face a huge task to get out of trouble, Annand says there is still a chance, even if it is a slim one.

On winning four wins on the spin, Annand told the Courier: “That record has stood for a long time which shows just how hard the Premiership is.

“I remember talking about how long it took Steven Gerrard to win four games in a row with Rangers which tells you hard that is to do.

“For Dundee, to stay in this league they really have to have won more than five games. The only way they will stay up is to add to that.

“I think looking back, they weren’t ready to come up. I watched the play-off final last season and it’s maybe been too big of a step.

“They signed Leigh Griffiths and all the baggage that came with that didn’t help the club.

James McPake and Leigh Griffiths.
James McPake and Leigh Griffiths as the striker signed at Dens Park for a second time.

“I thought Jason Cummings would kick on myself but that didn’t happen.”

‘Wildcard’

The Dark Blues also made a change in the dugout in February, sacking James McPake and bringing in a more experienced manager in Mark McGhee.

Annand experienced a bit of that at Dens Park, playing for John McCormack before Jocky Scott came in and then leaving as Ivano Bonetti took over.

The former Clyde and Ayr United man says this season’s Premiership shows it’s not always a sure-fire move to bring in a new manager.

“James McPake was a bit hard done by, he was a young manager and had a chance of keeping them up,” added Annand.

Dundee boss Mark McGhee.

“Going for Mark McGhee is a bit of a wildcard option but it’s not worked.

“No wins in 10 games isn’t good but I do think they might be able to get out of it.

“If they can get a win at Aberdeen this weekend they have a chance.

“But if Dundee lose, it is curtains I’m afraid.

“St Johnstone are playing St Mirren and in an ideal world it would be St Mirren Dundee are chasing, looking at their form.

“A few teams have changed manager and it really hasn’t helped. I think between McGhee, Jim Goodwin and Stephen Robinson there have been only two wins.

“Dundee might be able to sneak it on Saturday and then we’ll see.

“But Pittodrie will tell.”

‘Can’t be a yo-yo club’

If Dundee do head back to the Championship, Annand says it is imperative the Dens Park chiefs look to the long-term to avoid becoming a yo-yo club.

And that means picking a manager and sticking with him as well as ensuring the structure is in place to support a plan that looks beyond just the season ahead.

Dundee midfielder Max Anderson against Hibs.

“If they do go down, they have to start putting in a structure that looks ahead to the next three or four years rather than working season to season,” he added.

“They can’t go down, pick up all the best Championship players then go up and have to buy a whole different team for the top division.

“There are good young players there, like Max Anderson, so there needs to be a model in place where they use their academy and build a team for more than just a season.

“I can’t remember the last time Dundee sold a player either, that’s something to remedy.

“Because they can’t be a yo-yo club constantly.

“Fans get fed up of that.”

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