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Mark McGhee’s Dundee reign in 7 quotes – from going naked to the Gordon Strachan connection

Mark McGhee.
Mark McGhee.

The season is over for Dundee – and so is the Mark McGhee era at Dens.

It was a short yet eventful period for the Dark Blues, one that saw James McPake’s replacement hit the headlines on a number of occasions for his outlandish quotes.

We’ve picked out some of his most bizarre and controversial remarks.

1 – We won’t win many games

“I said to them on the first day, look we’re not going to win very many games, so we are going to be going home on a lot of Saturday nights disappointed.”

This was McGhee talking to Sky Sports on April 7.

At the time, Dee had recorded three draws in seven league matches under the former Motherwell and Aberdeen manager and had fallen six points adrift at the bottom.

2 – Going cold and hungry

Speaking on April 19 ahead of a must-win clash with St Johnstone, he said: “I was trying to make a point with this with Charlie Adam on Monday and he ended up taking the mickey out of me.

“There are two things I am doing this week to focus on getting the win.

“The first thing I have done is to go on a diet so I am hungry all the time.

“I then ask myself why am I hungry and I am hungry because there is a big game on Saturday.

Mark McGhee’s comments made headlines across the country.

“The second thing I am doing – and I have told Charlie I am doing this – that I won’t be using any heating (at home).

“So I will be cold. I then ask myself why am I cold? I can say because of the game on Saturday.

“It is not the two things of being cold and hungry but it is the principle of them because I am asking my own players to make this game as important in their own minds.

“I want them to focus on the game and this is what I am doing to make sure they are focused.

“For the rest of this week I will be on a strict Lesley Strachan [wife of Gordon] diet and I won’t be using the heating, trust me.”

3 – Strip tease

Just a few days after his ‘cold and hungry’ plan emerged, McGhee raised the bar.

He said: “The boys made me promise that if we beat St Johnstone then I’ve got to go naked for a week, which is not going to help anyone!

“You’ve just got to do something.

“You’ve got to do something to psychologically remind yourself and put yourself under a bit of pressure because there’s a big game coming.

“I think the players understand the message that I’m trying to give.”

4 – Cold, hungry and naked aftermath

After drawing with St Johnstone, McGhee doubled down on his motivational methods.

“Of course it worked. You can’t say it didn’t work just because we drew the game.

“We started brilliantly. The attitude going in was that we are going to win this game.”

McGhee – after being reminded of the dismal run his Dee side were on – added: “Well, I do what I am doing.

“I work hard in training, but I can change the players and who they are.

“They are who they are, and they have the ability they have.

“I can’t make them different players, I can only make them play to their potential. These last 10 games they have been going out and playing to their potential.

“So, the idea that we have not won in 10 is irrelevant.”

5 – Don’t mention Charlie Adam

McGhee was not happy to be questioned about Charlie Adam’s angry reaction at being substituted in the defeat to Aberdeen last month.

Speaking to BBC Sportsound, he said: “It’s not anybody’s business why I took Charlie off. I took other people off, ask me about them.

Dundee skipper Charlie Adam cuts a frustrated figure after being subbed.

“I took him off, as I did other players, to try and win the football match.

“I’m not going to talk about that, I’m not wanting to talk about Charlie Adam.”

Quizzed further on the midfielder, he snapped back: “I’m not going to talk about Charlie Adam, I’ve told you that already!”

6 – Gordon Strachan connection

After replacing James McPake in the Dens hot seat in February, he admitted: “I think I benefited from my relationship with Gordon. Let’s not kid ourselves on.

“John [Nelms] appointed me. In the end, he contacted me and contacted Gordon to say: ‘Look I want to speak to Mark McGhee’.

“It only went so far in the same way that for my first job, Alex Ferguson contacted John Madejski at Reading and said ‘You should speak to Mark McGhee’.

“Whether I would have got this job or another one without a bit of a leg up, I don’t know.

“I’d like to think I would because my record speaks for itself, but there is no denying that part of it was Gordon’s influence.”

Reunited - Mark McGhee and Gordon Strachan.
Mark McGhee was assistant manager to Gordon Strachan during the latter’s time as Scotland boss.

7 – James McPake ‘support’

In February, McGhee left many fans scratching their heads with this remark about his predecessor while clarifying technical director Strachan’s role at Dundee.

He said: “Gordon has no input to the first team.

“Even with James, that’s how it worked. Of course, he was there to be a mentor if James wanted to ask for a bit of advice.

“But he will have no real part in the first team.

Former Dundee boss James McPake.

“He only went to a couple of Dundee games and I went with him to one at a time when James was under a bit of pressure.

“Gordon knew there weren’t many of Dundee’s directors going and said: ‘Come on, we’ll go and give him a bit of moral support’. And we did.

“While, yes, he is part of the club – he’s not part of the first team and he’s not involved in recruitment.”