Matt Lockwood had told Dundee’s players to brace themselves for a pre-season slaughtering from new manager Neil McCann – but insists their sweat can bring success.
Lockwood is a big fan of former Sky TV pundit McCann who accepted the Dens Park job on a permanent basis last week after helping them stave off the threat of relegation during his spell as interim boss towards the end of last season.
Back in 2011, McCann played three games as a trialist to help the Dark Blues stay up in the first division despite being docked 25 points for plunging into administration.
And Lockwood insists one of the first things the former fans’ favourite will do is ensure his troops are in tip-top shape to hit the ground running for the big kick-off.
Lockwood said: “Neil is big into fitness.
“I have seen him in training as a player. Even when he came out of retirement that time to play for us as a trialist, he was always up the front in training and leading by example.
“He loved being out there and it will be the same now that he’s manager.
“I think the Dundee players will be in for a real hard pre-season. It could be their toughest yet but it will also be worthwhile for what lies ahead.
“Neil will no doubt want them to be the fittest team in the Premiership next season so the players will need to knuckle down and be ready to go from the first day.
“There will be a big difference in their fitness levels.
“I still see Neil at the gym. He’s looked after himself and one thing he’ll drill into these players is the importance of being in the best condition possible.
“He’s a modern-day manager whose levels of professionalism will shine through from day one.”
Former Dundee defender Lockwood believes his old club won’t be found languishing near the drop zone next season and reckons the fans should welcome McCann’s appointment.
He added: “The Dundee fans deserve something to shout about this season.
“They’ve been through some difficult times recently but Neil’s arrival is something they should feel confident about.
“I’m sure they will turn out in their numbers and get right behind him.”