Dundee boss Jim McIntyre looking for team to do the ugly things well against Hearts

© SNSJim McIntyre.
Jim McIntyre.

Dundee boss Jim McIntyre is demanding his players show they can successfully negotiate the ugly side of the game as well as produce pretty football.

The team the new Dens boss inherited from predecessor Neil McCann received plenty of plaudits for the way they played.

However, despite all the pats on the back, Premiership points were noticeable by their absence leading to the former Rangers and Scotland winger leaving his post last week with Dundee rooted to the foot of the table.

McIntyre took over with his first game in charge at Livingston on Saturday being one to forget as the Dark Blues lost 4-0 with all the goals coming from a failure to defend at setpieces.

Now, with league leaders Hearts due at Dens tonight, McIntyre is looking for his players to show some grit as well as guile with a back-to-basics approach.

The manager, who will once again be without an assistant for the game, said: “I think the basis to winning any football match is doing the basics well.

“The annoying thing about Saturday was we spoke about the need not to give away silly free-kicks because Livingston are very strong aerially.

“Equally when you know at times you will, you have to make sure that you’re doing your job and mark the man you’ve been assigned to mark.

“For us not to do that four times was really poor. Individual mistakes were made and what you’ve got to say is Livingston punished us.

“When we had a really good chance ourselves from a corner, their keeper’s made the save.

“Open play I was quite pleased, first half I thought we created a couple of decent opportunities and looked a real threat on a couple of occasions. Obviously we want that to be more.”

McIntyre added: “When you concede the types of goals we conceded then it can haemorrhage the confidence very quickly, especially when we’ve been struggling for results.

“We’re bottom of the league for a reason, it’s as simple as that.

“You can say that it’s a really strong squad or you can say it’s a weak squad, you can say what you like. The bottom line is we’re sitting at the bottom of the table and it’s about making sure individually you do your jobs better.

“As a team you listen to the information that’s getting handed out and you carry it out.

“Confidence returns when you pick up results, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re resolute, we’re being dogged and determined to do the ugly side of the game better.

“There’s a lot of talented players in the dressing room, but I said a couple of days ago talent alone is not enough, it doesn’t win you football matches.

“There’s a grit, a determination and an organisation that you need. That comes before the talent.”

With Dundee only having one league victory to their name this season, confidence has obviously been dented.

McIntyre admitted it is one of his jobs to rebuild that but it is also down to the players themselves to pick themselves up when they have had a setback.

McIntyre said: “The players are trying to do the right things and it’s important that when I’m just in the job they’ll constantly get encouragement to get into the right areas and go and show their skills.

“Equally you need to be switched on and know the structure that we’re playing and how that works in terms of also being hard to break down, hard to beat against the ball.

“Obviously you have to do your defending at set-plays, it’s such a massive part of the game.

You have to stand up and be counted.

“We all make mistakes. Managers make mistakes on the touchline every week, but it’s about how you react to those mistakes.

“It’s about putting that confidence into the players, you know just show me a reaction to your mistake rather than feel sorry for yourself. If you do that then you’re dead in the water.

“We’ve got to make sure we stand up and be counted on that front. When you do make a mistake, so what, get on with it.

“Try and rectify it and if you’re not bringing your A game try and make sure you’re stopping him bringing his A game. It’s as basic as that.”

It certainly does not get any easier for McIntyre and his men with the visit from a Hearts side that further cemented their position at the top of the Premiership with another win over Aberdeen on Saturday.

The manager admitted that if his players are to have any hope of halting the Jambos juggernaut, then they will have to match their streetwise opponents.

McIntyre said: “Hearts, they are a carbon copy of their manager for me.

“They’re streetwise. They are aggressive, they will play good football, they’ve got an identity to how they play and everybody knows their jobs. That, for me, is a Craig Levein team.

“They’ve got really good quality in the front positions. Naisy (Steven Naismith) is such a clever player, when to drop in and then gets up to support whatever striker.

“They’ve got good wide players, they’ve also got full-backs who like to bomb on and aggression right through the centre of their team.

“The spine of their team, they’ve got that streetwise aggression. You know what, they know when to break up the game, they know when to stop teams counter-attacking by committing cute fouls.

“That’s what I call being streetwise.

“They’ve got quality and if we don’t match it then we’ll be in bother.

“We’ve got to make sure that we do the ugly side of the game very well.

“They play a high tempo, they press you hard, so we know what we’re facing, a team a bit like Livingston they know what they’re good at and they try and carry that out.

“They are obviously one of the form teams as well, same as Livi.”

Dundee will be without the injured Paul McGowan, Josh Meekings, Nathan Ralph and Genseric Kusunga.