Dundee striker A-Jay Leitch-Smith has revealed how harsh words delivered by boss Neil McCann after defeat at Rugby Park helped them win at Firhill.
The Dark Blues boss didn’t miss his players after they threw away victory against 10-man Kilmarnock last Tuesday night, calling that capitulation “criminal” and “unprofessional.”
A damning verdict made in public from a boss can go two ways. A bad outcome is that the players take the huff and become resentful, while a good outcome is that they accept they blew it and do something about it.
Thankfully for Dundee, the Dens men chose the latter path against Partcik Thistle on Saturday, digging in for a 2-1 victory when it seemed like the cause was lost.
Leitch-Smith, who came off the bench to set up the first of Simon Murray’s late winning double, declared: “I think what the gaffer said the other night had a positive effect.
“You want to prove the manager wrong and you want to go out there and show what you can do.
“I think this time we showed a lot more fight right to the end.
“It is a massive result for us.
“It drags us a bit further away from teams around us and hopefully we can push on now.”
Leitch-Smith is now hoping he and Murray can team up to get Dundee get well clear of the danger zone.
He added: “Simon is lively, runs around a lot and is very busy.
“He is a good player.
“I think there is potential for a partnership there and we have trained well together.
“It will obviously take a few training sessions to get an understanding but there is potential there.
“He said he thought he was never going to score because he had a few chances so I am buzzing for him.”
“I think when you are on the bench like I was you want to make an impact and you have to try and make a difference.
“Hopefully, I did that.
“I could see there were gaps starting to appear and I was hoping to exploit that when I came on.”