It’s a case of so far, so good for Neil McCann as Dundee manager. One game and one win. Kilmarnock are next up on Saturday for the rookie boss and his team. Here are five talking points as McCann seeks to maintain his 100% record at Kilmarnock.
1 Will he bring back Cammy Kerr?
This isn’t an easy one. Kerr has arguably been Dundee’s most consistent performer this season. He’s certainly a fans’ favourite. Tom Hateley hadn’t been in good form in the last few weeks of Paul Hartley’s time in charge but Saturday was much more like it in the right-back position he made a name for himself in his Motherwell days. Hateley was pretty sound defensively and cleared the ball off the line (or from two feet behind it, if you’re Fir Park boss Stephen Robinson) to save a goal at 3-1. And, at the other end of the pitch, he was a second half goal threat. It would be harsh on Hateley to be dropped, so the smart money could well be on Kerr making his comeback after suspension from off the bench.
2 Is a flat back four here to stay?
Now this is an easy one. It has to be a yes. Hartley couldn’t settle on two centre-backs or three, with the latter being the formation he was persisting with before he got sacked. It was no surprise that McCann reverted to a back four in his first game in charge and the defenders seemed more comfortable with it. There are only four games left and this set-up will be here to stay.
3 Can Dundee keep a clean sheet?
They haven’t had one in this calendar year. The first half at Fir Park was as solid as they’ve looked in quite a while but there were two goals and some fraught moments in the second period. Scott Bain is never going to become the sort of goalkeeper who leaves his line to claim crosses on a regular basis, and balls into the box from wide areas is still the best chance of scoring against Dundee. If they have a zero to their name at full-time at Rugby Park – and keep Conor Sammon quiet, in particular – that will be a big step forward. You would still say that it’s more likely they’re going to win high-scoring games than tight ones, however.
4 Is out wide the best place for Craig Wighton?
Long-term, Wighton will probably want to nail down the role that was given to Paul McGowan on Saturday – floating between midfield and attack in central parts of the pitch. That’s a position with huge responsibility, however. McGowan has the maturity to carry it off in pressurised times like these and that’s where he’ll stay. Wighton, as he did for Dundee’s third at Fir Park, has the quick feet to cause trouble in wide areas and younger legs than the likes of McGowan to get up and down the pitch. Wighton does a good job of involving himself in the game so he is no touchline-hugger. Keep him where he is.
5 Is one good win enough to represent a change in momentum?
As a rule, no. Given the up and down nature of Dundee’s season, this isn’t a question you could answer with any certainty. Realistically, winning all five of their post-split fixtures as McCann has challenged them to do will be beyond them. However, Killie away is probably the toughest match they are faced with so, another victory and you wouldn’t rule it out. That’s one possibility. The other is a defeat in Ayrshire piles the pressure back on and, if other results go against them, Dundee are in the play-off position seven days after they left it. Confidence will still be fragile so this Saturday is almost as significant as last. Two wins out of four will probably be enough and – with Inverness Caley Thistle looking like a broken team – it would be a shock now if the Dark Blues don’t get them.