A serious injury has forced Dundee defender James McPake to retire from football.
The 33-year-old joined the Dark Blues from Hibs in 2014 and quickly became a fans’ favourite for his committed and no-nonsense style on the pitch.
I’ve gave it a right go and had some great times. Time for a new chapter. ?? pic.twitter.com/8gpbHeZ0KG
— James McPake (@JamesMcPake5) January 30, 2018
However, he has finally been forced to admit defeat in his attempt to return from a horrific injury in a New Year derby against Dundee United when he suffered a fractured kneecap in challenge on United’s John Rankin.
A club statement said: “What followed was an incredible show of mental and physical strength as James and the club did everything possible to get the defender back out on the park.
“Long days were spent in the gym and out on the training pitch as he battled to return to fitness. While attempting to recover from the injury McPake took on coaching duties at Dens and despite being close to a comeback a number of times, he has now decided to call it a day.”
The club added: “A popular player both in the stands and the dressing room, James McPake will always be held in high regard by the Dundee support for commitment, dedication, leadership and giving 100% every time he pulled on the Dark Blue shirt and they will also be grateful for some wonderful memories and those goals against United. A true “Dark Blue Derby Hero.”
McPake, who will take up a role in the Dundee FC Academy as the head of professional programme, has paid tribute to Dundee FC and their fans for their support as he tried to regain fitness.
In a statement he said: “I thank the club greatly for the countless support they’ve given me since joining in 2014. Since the injury and in the two years afterwards they have exhausted all possible options to try and get me back on the pitch, which was the ultimate aim.
“It hasn’t worked out that way but I now have a healthy knee that will allow me to have a normal active life and be involved and hands on in a coaching sense.”
He added: “The fans have been great with me from day one. On the pitch I think they saw how committed I was to the club and I love playing in front of our passionate fans. Also off the pitch I thank them for their well wishes and their messages of support.
“It is a fantastic club from top to bottom with great people within the club and supporting it.”