Luke McCowan feels he’s come of age as a Dundee player this season.
Always capable of a moment of quality in previous years, the attacking midfielder has found the consistency to keep himself one of the first names on the team sheet.
McCowan has started every league match this term under Tony Docherty.
On top of that, he has barely been substituted – only twice has the midfielder come off, after 86 minutes against Kilmarnock and 85 minutes against Rangers.
He’s a vital cog in Docherty’s Dundee machine despite being utilised in a new, more central, midfield position.
Integral part of Dundee squad
And McCowan says a chat with the current manager – his fourth at the club after James McPake, Mark McGhee and Gary Bowyer – inspired him to kick on this term.
“When I left Ayr, I felt the managers I had always went to me and gave me confidence by talking to me, speaking to me all the time and telling me I was a good player and big part of the team,” McCowan explained.
“But I was moving to a bigger club, a better team and one with guys like Charlie Adam and Leigh Griffiths.
“The manager wasn’t going to come to me and tell me if I’d just come from Ayr: ‘Yup, you’re the man!’
“It’s not going to happen.
“I kind of struggled with that.
“This year he’s (Tony Docherty) been massive. I’ve been told I’m an integral part of the team, I need you at it.
“He knows how best to motivate me and a lot of the other boys. It’s kind of worked.”
‘Stuff to add’
He added: “I’m pleased with what I’m adding to the team. I think it’s my most consistent spell here.
“Game after game, I’m doing alright. I can always do better – more goals, more assists.
“I am playing a newish position and I love it. I’m getting full games and coming away pleased with my own personal performance.
“But there’s always stuff to be added to it. I feel I should be getting an assist or a goal in each game and if I don’t then it’s a small disappointment for myself.
“It’s about helping the team and more times than not I’ve been able to do that.”
Dundee’s Luke McCowan on Rangers ‘tackle’
Dundee boss Tony Docherty has challenged his side to make up for their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Rangers last time out with a much-improved display.
McCowan admits the Gers “were ruthless that day. And we weren’t.”
Another you could possibly put into the ruthless category was referee Kevin Clancy after he blocked McCowan during a Dundee attack, leading to Rangers’ fourth goal.
“That was a good tackle, wasn’t it?!” McCowan joked.
Btw… That 4th Rangers goal against Dundee… Referee blocks the Dundee player off and Rangers score. Didn’t even get discussed afterwards on Sportscene. Didn’t decide the result, but an utter shambles nonetheless.
Will be forgotten about before tomorrow.
— Classic Heart Of Midlothian FC Goals (@HeartsGoals) November 1, 2023
“But if he stops the game and gives a drop ball to Rangers or to us, I don’t think Rangers would’ve been complaining.
“They were 3-0 up already. It never really changed the outcome of the game.
“But it made it a bit sore. In fact, I had a bit of a sore nose the next day – I think he threw his elbow at me!
“But, no, it was alright. He said that rules of the game, he had to play on as he didn’t touch the ball.
“I said: ‘I’ll see you next time!’
“Maybe in one game soon I can accidentally run into him.”
Luke McCowan coming of age
And that coming of age?
McCowan turns 26 today and has only one wish for his birthday.
“Hopefully a birthday win,” he replied.
“The big 26, I’m getting on. Hopefully it’s a good celebration after it with a win.
“I’m getting close to that old team in training, I need to kid on I’m 22 again!”