Dundee’s Shaun Byrne wants to make his return to the Championship a short one

© SNSShaun Byrne.
Shaun Byrne.

Shaun Byrne fought hard to become a Premiership player and Dundee’s new signing is determined that his return to the second tier of Scottish football will be a short one.

The former Livingston midfielder is the Dark Blues’ ‘statement’ signing of the summer, with manager James McPake persuading him to knock back offers from the likes of Motherwell and St Mirren to move to Dens Park on a three-year deal.

And, after playing a crucial role in Livi’s against-the-odds promotion two season ago through the play-offs, Byrne is well-placed to speak about what is needed to ensure Dundee bounce straight back up to the top flight.

“The Championship is an exciting league but I want to get back to the Premiership as soon as possible,” said the 26-year-old.

“There was interest from Premiership sides but Dundee have pushed the boat out.

“This is the right move for me.

“Dundee should definitely be in the Premiership.

“They are too big a club to be in the Championship but the size of the club means nothing in that league.

“You need to fight for every point you can get.

“The biggest thing is having everybody pulling in the same direction.

“At Livi we had a close changing room, all fighting for each other. If we can get that at Dundee, we’ll be heading in the right direction.

“The manager has made some good signings – boys who know the league.

“That will be important.”

If McPake’s management skills are as good as his powers of persuasion then Dundee will be champions.

“The biggest factor in me signing was the manager showing how much he wanted me,” said Byrne.

“He went above and beyond to get me to the club and that’s what you want as player.

“When you’ve got a manager who is desperate to get you, you want to play for him.

“I’ve got a three-year contract with another year if I want it. It’s a really good contract. It’s hard to get three and four-year contracts these days.

“These should be the peak years of my career.

“I’m delighted to get the deal done. It feels like a good fit.”

Byrne was a regular for Livingston last season until mid-February, when talks about a new contract broke down.

Ironically, it was near the time he was sent off against Dundee.

“They offered me a contract and we didn’t agree terms,” Byrne recalled. “Then I didn’t play as much in the last few weeks of the season.

“These things happen in football and I’ve got great memories of my time at Livingston.”

It proved to be third time lucky for Dundee, with Paul Hartley and Jim McIntyre both linked with Byrne when they were in charge at Dens.

“There has interest in the past,” he said. “I’m just glad to get here in the end.

“I spoke to big Dec (Declan Gallagher, former Livingston team-mate and ex-Dundee defender) and he talked highly about Dundee.

“There’s a big fan base. It’s up to the players to get them right behind us and get promotion.”