Andrew Nelson knows a club that is doomed to relegation when he sees one.
But there are no telltale signs at Dens Park, according to Dundee’s new striker.
Nelson was a Sunderland player when the Black Cats started falling through the English divisions.
The young forward senses only a determination to move up the table in the dressing room he has just moved into, however, rather than a side whose demise is deep-rooted.
“Down there it was really negative,” Nelson recalled. “People were not turning up to games and not bothering to go.
“I wasn’t involved in the first team but it seeped down to the other levels as well. The negativity just went right through the whole place.
“There were a lot of problems at all levels. Some of the players’ commitment was questionable and Jack Ross has done really well to clear that out.
“They have started from scratch again and are building it up again.
“At Dundee it’s nothing like that. The environment here is completely different.
“I came into this dressing room and there is a great spirit here, and outside the dressing room people are getting behind the team.
“There is a positive feeling here. I have not seen one sign of negativity since I arrived.”
Nelson, who made his debut off the bench against Queen of the South at the weekend and could start away at Hearts tonight, added: “You would expect there to be some sort of downer given the league position but there’s not.
“At Sunderland in the Premier League some of the senior players wouldn’t even look at you when they passed you in the corridor.
“They would just look straight ahead and not say a thing, like they had a sense of entitlement.
“I am a Sunderland fan and it was difficult to wait for a chance when people were not giving their all.
“You’d give your right arm or right leg to play for Sunderland, but some of them didn’t seem to grasp that concept.
“You’d watch them on a match day and you’d see them not running about and not doing much.
“I kept thinking that if that was one of us we’d be darting about and going for everything.
“You’d maybe not be as technically as good as some people, but you could be guaranteed I’d put my foot in or put my head in where it hurts.
“That’s what was lacking and I know in my situation they were not sure whether I just had that or could do the technical side of things.
“I went to Falkirk when they were either bottom or second bottom and we got out of it. I have seen both sides of it.”
Nelson will be hoping to end a run of misfortune that thwarted his hopes of making a first team breakthrough at the Stadium of Light.
“I thought I might get a chance this season but I got injured in the summer,” he recalled.
“I was tackled and when I went to push off and keep going I dislocated three toes and tore the ligaments in my foot.
“When I went to the specialist he said it was the kind of injury only dancers get!
“So I’ve had a bit of bad luck but that’s football and I just want to look forward now.
“It’s the first time I have changed clubs so it’s an eye-opener but it’s exciting.
“I just want to get on with things. This is a fresh start for me and I want to be part of helping the club get away from the bottom of the league.
“I have been injured for most of the season so I’ve got time to make up on.
“It’s time for me to play senior games and kick on with my career now.
“I loved my time with Falkirk – the game up in Scotland suits me.
“Last season we played Rangers at Ibrox in the cup and to play somewhere like that was the best experience of my career so far.
“After I spoke to the manager and he told me how he wants to play – and the security of the contract – it was a no-brainer to come here.
“The manager has made it clear he wants to develop me as much as possible so this is a fantastic opportunity.
“The next six games will be massive for us. The two teams above us are still very close so a lot can change.”