Neil McCann has admitted he was “surprised and shocked” when he was sacked as Dundee manager, insisting he still firmly believed he could turn things around at the club.
The former Dark Blues boss has spoken for the first time since he was relieved of his duties on October 16 to Sky Sports.
His dismissal came on the back of a wretched start to the league season with Dundee rooted to the bottom of the Premiership table with just one win and seven league losses to their name.
However, despite the dire situation, McCann insisted there had been no indication that he was in danger of losing his job.
The former Rangers and Scotland winger said: “No. I am aware that results were not good enough and where we want to be as a club.
“I was surprised when I got the call. I don’t think anyone – even if there are managers or coaches out there who think, ‘I am on a shaky peg here’ – I think when you get the sit down and here’s what’s happening it comes as a surprise and a shock.”
Shortly before his sacking, McCann and managing director John Nelms held talks with veteran former boss Jim Jefferies about coming in to help out at the club.
And McCann admitted he was in the dark as to why the board then suddenly decided to dispense with his services.
He said: “I don’t know. I can say I was going to change things, the team knew that, the coaching staff knew that, the club knew that as well but ultimately it comes down to results.
“Outside influences can be strong and the club felt they wanted a change. They are entitled to make the change. They are paying those wages they are giving me.
“I am of the opinion that I would have turned things around.
“Eight games into the campaign we weren’t a million miles away from eighth, ninth, seventh.
“It wasn’t too far away and it goes back to what I was saying about players. If you are being asked to do something with the budget and bring certain players who I believe will mature into good players playing my type of football, then they have to be given time.
“But time can run out pretty fast when results are not coming especially when outside influences are becoming stronger.”
McCann also insisted that the players had not lost faith in him or the style of play he was trying to implement.
He said: “No. Absolutely not at all.
“The last two training sessions I had at Dundee were possibly two of the best in terms of morale, team spirit, enjoyment, hilarity, hard work, quality, it was fantastic.
“In fact, we had a young boy down who joined us and his dad came down.
“The dad went away saying, ‘How are we bottom of the league? The morale is unbelievable’.
“It was great but what you do get is a lack of confidence and sometimes a lack of bravery to carry that out.
“There were some players I let go that I didn’t think either could handle it or they could do it or they wanted to go elsewhere and play a different style of football.
“That’s fine, that’s football and every manager has his own types of players.”
That has been shown by the fact McCann’s successor Jim McIntyre has only sparingly used some of his summer signings since he took over.
However, McCann is confident that no matter who plays for Dundee, they still have a squad capable of staying up this season.
He added: “I do, yes. I absolutely do but Jim plays a different football to me.
“Again, that’s not right or wrong. It is different to how I want to play.
“Now, I signed a type of player that I believed would mature into playing the type of football I want to play.
“That might not suit Jim. He might want to move those players on.
“They might not be adaptive enough to play his style of football. I don’t know and only time will tell.
“But I do believe there are good enough players in there to absolutely survive in the Scottish Premiership.
“But I am not the manager there any more so I don’t see what he is seeing during the day on the training field if they can stand up to how he’s training and meet the demands Jim McIntyre wants.
“I don’t know that. They have got results in the last couple of games and maybe Jim will look to strengthen.
“January is a difficult time to get the players you are after but it’s down to him now to get that team going.
“But I do believe there is more than enough strength in that squad.
“What I would say is that there were a lot of injuries at the time (of his sacking). People will say he is making excuses but we had injuries to some very influential players.
“That throws a spanner into how you want to play and you have to change things but I would like to see those guys getting back as I think they could add real strength to that squad.”
The full interview with McCann can be seen on SPFL Matters at 6pm on Sky Sports Football.