Rab Douglas: My big fear – is it too late for Dundee?

© DC Thomson
Neil McCann.

I must admit that I thought the writing was on the wall for Paul Hartley after the 7-0 defeat to Aberdeen a few weeks back.

You don’t often see a manager coming back from performances and results like that on their own ground.

The Dundee directors have obviously given him a bit longer and would have been hoping for the best.

Saturday at home to Hamilton always had the look of a must-win game and so it proved.

I’ve got a lot of time for Paul and you never want to see somebody lose their job but, given the league position Dundee now find themselves in, I think he had to go.

The big worry is, though, is it too late?

Five games for a new manager is no time at all to change things around.

I know Neil McCann from Scotland squads and then the Deefiant season. He’s got his coaching badges and has some experience as a number two at Dunfermline.

This is something else entirely, though.

The decision to appoint him is big, brave, bold and all the other descriptions that have been used.

I’d describe him as team player. He came out of retirement to play for Dundee under Barry Smith and fitted in well.

There were a lot of strong characters in that dressing room and Neil was one of them.

You don’t get as far in the game as he has without being a strong character and I’m sure he’ll get respect in the current Dundee dressing room.

The fact that he’s got so little time to turn things round makes it even more important to keep things simple.

Paul changed the formation a few times over the season and maybe that caught up with him in the end. Neil certainly doesn’t have that luxury.

He needs to choose the formation that suits these players best because he doesn’t have a transfer window. And he needs to stick with it.

Boys need to be playing in their correct positions.

Cammy Kerr is no more of a left midfielder than I am. Cammy needs to be at right-back.

If he gets back to basics, gets a bit of confidence into the team and they can get a result at Motherwell then he’s got a good chance of getting away from second bottom.

He has to hit the ground running.


* It was a proud night when I was inducted into the Dundee Hall of Fame.

Everybody knows that the club means a lot to me and I’ve got some special memories from my playing days at Dens.

Being put alongside some Dundee legends was another special moment.


* It’s going to be some finish to the season in League Two.

Unfortunately Arbroath were only at the top of the table for about 10 seconds on Saturday!

The fact that both ourselves and Forfar lost shows that it is a competitive league and you can’t take anything for granted in the last three games. Neither of us can look too far ahead, that’s for sure.

It’s going to come down to which team deals with the pressure best. It’s all to play for.