Teenage midfielder Finn Robertson has already emerged as a key player for Dundee this season but Dens boss James McPake is determined to maintain a careful approach with the youngster’s development.
The 16-year-old has started the last four games for the Dark Blues and played the entire 90 minutes against Dunfermline on Friday night in the Championship opener, helping his team secure a 2-2 draw.
Pars boss Stevie Crawford singled Robertson out for special attention which McPake admitted was a compliment to the impact the youngster has had for Dundee.
However, the manager will continue to be cautious with the promising player, especially as experienced midfielder Jamie Ness is fit again for Saturday’s match against Ayr United at Dens after recovering from an ankle injury.
McPake said: Credit to Craw and the way Dunfermline set up.
“You could see what they were trying to do and they sat the player on Finn as well which was a massive credit to him.”
Despite that, McPake is wary of placing too many demands on the teenager.
He said: “Yes, I will not change on that. I said that when he was 14 and I played beside him.
“He is nowhere near ready to play a 36-game season in the first team.
“So, of course, we need to be aware of that but at the minute, he is fit, he is healthy and producing good performances.
“Jamie Ness coming back changes things. We have him coming back into the fold which will help everybody.
“But we know exactly what we are getting from Finn.
“As a club and as a staff, we certainly need to be careful with him.”
New Dundee technical director Gordon Strachan was an interested spectator at East End Park with McPake eager to hear his thoughts afterwards.
He added: “I have spoken to him a couple of times since the game.
“It was good to see him and he was very positive.
“But I also have Jimmy (Nicholl) and Dave (Mackay) there as well but it is always good to have another experienced guy to go to.”