Neil McCann took his time before accepting the job as Dundee’s new manager earlier this summer.
But if anyone still retained any lingering doubts his commitment, they should surely be extinguished by now.
Within minutes of watching his new-look side limp towards an uninspiring victory over Highland League champions Buckie Thistle to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group C of the Betfred Cup, McCann moved to cancel their scheduled day off and ordered them in for an impromptu session yesterday to iron out any early-season problems requiring to be solved.
So the Dark Blues spent the day sweating it out as opposed to having the luxury of putting their feet up after McCann described their overall efforts as “not acceptable” in disposing of their part-time opponents in front of a similarly underwhelmed home support.
The team were savaged publicly by the former Sky Sports pundit, despite prevailing courtesy of goals in either half from Faissal El Bakhtaoui and recent arrival Sofien Moussa.
Win or no win, McCann was left unimpressed with their overall attitude against the part-time visitors as he gave a timely indication of what his players can expect should they dare fall below the kind of standards he expects in the challenges which lies ahead.
Former Sutton United attacker Roarie Deacon, for one, had no complaints about his manager’s punishment, and knows it’s a sign that he only wants the best for the team following his summer change-of-heart prior to landing the job long-term.
“The gaffer cancelled our day off, but that’s football – you don’t deserve rewards after a performance like that,” stated Deacon.
“He wasn’t happy at all. All there was to be happy about was the win.
“He knows we can play better than that and so do we.
“After the game a few of the senior lads were saying it wasn’t good enough and nobody could disagree.
“We didn’t do anything well enough, defending or attacking.
“We didn’t keep the ball out of our box enough and allowed Buckie to impose themselves on us at times.
“We are the Premiership team and we should have had more than enough to go out and win that match easily.”
It’s been a frenetic summer for McCann, with many questioning the wisdom of his appointment long-term given his lack of experience as a manager.
But already he’s making his presence felt within a dressing-room which has changed so much in a relatively short space of time, with the arrival of the likes of Moussa, Deacon, Jack Hendry, Randy Wolters, Lewis Spence, Glen Kamara, and on-loan Celtic midfielder Scott Allan.
Deacon, who began his career as a kid at Arsenal, added: “That wasn’t the first time we have seen the manager like that. He wasn’t amused at half-time up at Arbroath in pre-season.
“He wasn’t as upset as he was against Buckie though.
“You always see the good and the bad side of a manager. This weekend we have seen the bad side of him but that was down to us.
“We have standards set at the club and we didn’t meet them.
“From day one, he said he wanted winners but although we got that the performance wasn’t there.”
Dundee now travel to Cowdenbeath on Wednesday looking to restore their manager’s faith in them before hosting city foes Dundee United at Dens on Sunday.
Allan’s introduction after the break certainly added some much-needed impetus and it was his shot which led to Moussa tapping home the clincher second goal after EL Bakhtaoui had given them the lead with a 22nd minute wonder strike which found a way past the otherwise inspired Danny Bell in the visitors goal.
What’s guaranteed is they’ll be looking for a morale-boosting win ahead of their Premiership curtain-raiser with Ross County the week later, and Deacon doesn’t think they’ll let their fans down when United visit their place in front of a near sell-out crowd.
“We have the Cowdenbeath game before Dundee United so we need to get a win in that one,” said Deacon.
“We have to have a better performance in both of those games.
“Everyone is aware what the derby means to the club and to the fans.
“You could hear a few moans and groans in the crowd against Buckie so it’s up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“I have played in a few derby matches in the conference but nothing like what next Sunday will be like.”