Declan McDaid has assured disgruntled Dundee supporters they’ll be properly ready to hit the ground running in their Championship campaign.
The Dark Blues, by their own admission, toiled for spells during Saturday’s Betfred Cup clash with League One new boys Peterhead, before prevailing in the end courtesy of a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory to ensure they remain in pole position in Group D.
James McPake’s side, whose final group game is at home to Inverness this Sunday, are firmly on course to qualify for the last 16 despite this latest goalless draw with part-time opposition which followed on from their midweek struggle against Cove Rangers.
But winger McDaid, who joined from rivals Ayr United earlier this summer, has told the Dundee faithful not to overly fret ahead of their televised Friday night league curtain-raiser away to Dunfermline in their quest to regain automatic promotion.
McDaid said: “We should be ready by the time we got to Dunfermline for the opening league game of the season.
“We’re still trying to play the way we want to play. It’s a bit frustrating for the fans as well but I’m sure it will all come together soon.
“At Ayr last season, we had a good season and came close in the play-offs.
“It’s a tough league but with the squad we’ve got I don’t see why we can’t get back up.
“There are always teams up there round about the top of the table. You never quite know who else will be challenging.
“But I think we’ll have enough. That’s our aim anyway.”
Dundee eventually won through Paul McGowan’s decisive spot-kick after McDaid had himself missed, while Jack Leitch and Jamie Stevenson failed from the target for Jim McInally’s impressive Blue Toon who more than frustrated their lacklustre hosts.
This was indeed a timely test for the Dark Blues who are sure to find many more teams trying to make life less than comfortable for them in the season ahead.
And McDaid said: “It’s not going to happen straight away, so the fans will need to be patient.
“We’ve been doing well in pre-season but the last couple of games have been quite hard.
“I think it’s going to happen a lot this season with teams coming to Dens and sitting in.
“We’re trying to play football but we need to find a way to break teams down as well.
“But we’ve got there in the end by winning on penalties again, and hopefully by the end of the week we can still go through.”
Meanwhile, Peterhead midfielder Simon Ferry is forecasting Dundee to seal a return back to the top flight of Scottish football.
The 31-year-old, who had a spell at Dens under Paul Hartley in 2014-2015, was a stand-out for McInally’s visitors at the weekend as they almost captured three points late on when substitute Ben Armour raced clean through on goal, only to direct his effort right at Jack Hamilton.
Ferry, though, saw enough during Saturday’s tie to suggest his former club won’t languish long in the Championship ahead of a much-anticipated title race with city rivals Dundee United.
Ferry said: “I think Dundee look as though they can go straight back up.
“James (McPake) has recruited so well and it will just take a wee bit of time for them all to gel together.
“They’ve made signings who look decent and Andrew Nelson is somebody up front who looks as though he’s got plenty goals in him.
“I know Dundee United have been recruiting strongly as well and will be desperate to finally get out of the Championship.
“However, I still reckon Dundee look a better bet. It will be a good battle for the flag and, of course, the Dundee derbies will have a big say on who ultimately ends up being champions.”