Dundee boss Neil McCann feels the fans’ pain when side are defeated as he is one himself

Neil McCann.

Neil McCann insists he fully understands the pain Dundee fans feel when results do not go their way – as he is one himself.

The Dark Blues manager was seen to react to criticism from supporters during Saturday’s disappointing Scottish Cup exit to Motherwell at Dens.

That loss followed hot on the heels of last weekend’s defeat at the same venue to bottom-of-the-table Ross County.

McCann, who will be in the dug-out at Rugby Park for tonight’s vitally-important league game against Kilmarnock, has been in the game long enough to have a thick skin and he will take stick all day long.

However, he admitted that while the vast majority of Dundee fans have been brilliant and supportive to the team, he has asked for greater understanding from the small minority of boo boys that players are human and can make mistakes on occasion.

He said: “Any club I have played at, if results are not coming, then fans are unhappy.

“I get involved because I am built that way and I am passionate.

“I am very supportive of my side. I can be critical, I will never sugar coat it but on the pitch, as long as we have game time, I will encourage them, I will ask for more and I will support them always.

“I understand why fans can get frustrated but I am not making a big thing about the fans because on the whole, they have been brilliant and they can understand how we are trying to play.

“But I know they are upset because if I say we want to get into the top six and we lose against Ross County who are at the foot of the table, if I say we want to be competitive in cups and we lose to Motherwell, then I am as upset as the fans are.

“I am a fan at the end of the day.

“Those results against Ross County and Motherwell were painful and I shared that pain.

“But when I am getting stick, I don’t care as I will take it all day long. I will bite back because it is in my nature but I will never turn on my team out there.

“I will ask for more and I will change it but I will support them.

“I genuinely know that I have people trying to do their best but they will make mistakes – it is human nature.

“But as I said, generally the support has been brilliant.”

When asked if he ever felt he probably shouldn’t react, McCann said: “No. If I have a fan shouting, ‘I don’t want to watch this’, then just go downstairs because we have enough fans in the stadium supporting us.

“I understand people say that fans are allowed to voice their opinions if they are paying their money.

“Yes, but I want them to support us because players are not trying to make mistakes.

“I have never seen as yet at 43 years old – and I have been in the game since I was 16 – any negativity coming from the stands being helpful for a player.

“I understand the frustration – and that’s what I want to stress – but be supportive for the 90 minutes.

“Every fan wants success for their club and I am no different – I am a Dundee fan.

“That’s why I took this job as it holds a special place for me and I want to be successful here.

“I am trying to build a side to bring success but it is not going to happen overnight.”

McCann knows his players will be in for a difficult game this evening against a Kilmarnock team that has been rejuvenated under Steve Clarke.

He added: “They look as if they have a real understanding in how they play and a belief in what they are doing is right.
“The results certainly reflect that.

“Steve has a way of playing and a structure and it has been really effective for them.

“Kilmarnock are a counter-attacking side who get really compact and then try to hit on the break.

“So we have shaped up in a way that will allow us to play our own game but respect the opposition as we always do.”

McCann admitted he has a late decision to make on whether new signing Steven Caulker will play a part tonight.

McCann said: “Steven has a chance of playing but to what degree I’ll decide on that later.

“Josh Meekings is right on the edge as well. He was close on Saturday and he is even closer now.

“However, Marcus Haber is out as he has hurt his back again.

“Julen Etxabeguren and Matty Henvey are still out but the latter is making good progress and should return to training next Monday.”