Though they are on the brink of relegation to the Championship, Dundee boss Mark McGhee insists his team are in better shape now than when they last faced St Mirren.
The Dark Blues travel to Paisley this weekend knowing defeat could see them confirmed in the Premiership’s bottom spot if St Johnstone win at Livingston.
McGhee has already faced Stephen Robinson’s Buddies this season, losing a last-gasp winner in a 1-0 defeat at Dens Park in March.
But the experienced manager insists his side are performing much better now than they were two months ago.
“Are we in better shape now compared to the last time we played St Mirren? Yes, I think we are,” McGhee said.
“Since the Rangers game I think there have been marginal gains in every game, even though we had three draws and a defeat.
“I have seen things I like, things that are new and are better.
“There has definitely been an upward curve so we hope that improvement continues and opens the door for a win.”
Keeping his players believing they can still stay up has been the main job for McGhee, he says.
Assistant manager Simon Rusk does much of the coaching while the former Scotland coach tries to keep heads up around the squad.
“If there’s anything in my role it has been making the players believe the win is coming and what we’re doing will pay dividends,” McGhee added.
“It has been about not letting their heads go down when they don’t win games, when we’re losing or drawing.
“We have come back from defeats, they have kept believing.
“I said back then we wouldn’t have to win eight games, at the moment it looks like we’ll have to win three games.
“But we are in a shape now I believe we are capable of doing that.
“In order for that to happen you have to stay in a positive frame of mind.
“We got results against Aberdeen and Dundee United by coming back and showing energy.
“There’s no doubt we can match teams in terms of energy and desire.
“We want to start the St Mirren game that way, show the levels of application and intensity we want to see, earn the right to play and then hopefully a bit of quality will win it for us.”