Dundee boss Jim McIntyre has stressed that every player at the club will be given the chance to prove they deserve to stay at Dens – but only if they show the correct attitude and character.
The 46-year-old took over as Dark Blues manager earlier this month with the club propping up the Premiership table.
It is a similar situation to the one McIntyre inherited when he became Ross County boss in September, 2014.
He managed to rescue the Staggies’ season after rebuilding the squad with the team embarking on a remarkable run after the January window closed to secure their safety.
Many pundits believe McIntyre will do something similar with Dundee and overhaul his roster but the manager insists that everyone will be given the opportunity to shine, with the latest chance to do so coming tomorrow night at Dens against Celtic.
McIntyre said: “The players here will all get an opportunity to show what they can do.
“That’s not just on the pitch on a Wednesday or a Saturday, that’s every day on the training field showing they are getting what we’re asking.
“That will determine what happens.
“I believe that this squad – and no disrespect to the Ross County squad I inherited – has more ability within them.
“I think within the overall group there is more here.
“At County there were some good players and a few who I didn’t think were up to what I wanted.
“But ability isn’t enough, you have to be prepared to do the hard yards.”
McIntyre added: “You have to be prepared to listen, learn and show that you are able to carry out the instructions you’re given.
“It’s so important to have a good shape about you and do your jobs well at this level.
“We have seen what happens when you drop runners at set plays and give away silly free-kicks.
“Can you give players attitude and character? I don’t think you can.
“People have to have their own character and as a manager it’s about giving them the information and a clear idea of what you want from them.
“But they are the ones who have to show the character.
“I think there is plenty of character in this dressing-room, but it’s about knowing what’s required of you and standing up to do it.
“I don’t care if players lose the ball being positive, but get back in when you lose it and win it back.
“You learn about people in adversity, I’ve been there as a player myself so I know what it’s like.
“We will encourage the players. They know we are trying to help them along.”
McIntyre was at Murrayfield on Sunday to see Celtic ultimately cruise to victory over Hearts in the League Cup semi-final, winning 3-0.
And he lavished praise on the job Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers has done since taking over at Parkhead.
McIntyre said: “Concentrations levels have to be tip top against Celtic.
“I was at the game on Sunday and thought Hearts were excellent for 60 minutes but once Celtic got the goal, you see the fluidity coming back into them.
“You would find it hard to name a player in Scotland who is playing better than Callum McGregor, he seems to excel everywhere he plays.
“And I think the biggest compliment of that is how Brendan trusts him to go into several roles because he knows the job will get done.
“Celtic have been brilliant since Brendan went there. They didn’t get off to the start they wanted this season but you can see lately they are getting there.
“They always pose you questions, they shift you around and they have quality all over the park.
“They are still the team to beat in Scotland, without a shadow of a doubt.
“They are the benchmark for everyone, they’re the top team.
“To beat them you have to have your organisation spot on and have your whole 11 playing well.
“On top of that you have to hope they don’t have everyone at their peak.
“If that is the case then you have a chance. The favourites don’t always win every match.
“So you have to go into it with belief, but equally you have to do your own jobs right and do everything really well to give yourself the opportunity.”
Dundee will be without club captain Josh Meekings with McIntyre saying: “He has a problem with his hip and is struggling a bit.
“We don’t know if he’s suffered a tear or not, so we are looking at how to treat it.
“Paul McGowan has started training again but is still a good bit short of match fitness.”
On-loan Celtic player Calvin Miller will also miss out as he cannot play against his parent club.