John Rankin’s “warrior mentality” will ensure Dundee United have the right approach to Monday’s night’s Dundee derby.
Bilate, who left the Tangerines back in November after an injury-blighted time on Tayside, spoke to his former team-mate after Sunday’s dreadful result and performance against Hamilton Accies.
And the Dutch forward believes Rankin is the right man to help United avoid the fate of their bitter rivals sending them down to the Championship.
He said: “I spoke to John and he was hurting obviously.
“We’re quite close and I could tell by his voice that he’d taken defeat badly.
“I didn’t want to go into things too deeply as that would just have rubbed it in further.
“But John has a warrior mentality which is exactly what they need at this terrible time.
“I can’t speak for the rest of the team and how they’re feeling but there’s no doubt John is the best professional – and one of the most highly-motivated – I’ve ever met.
“He knows what’s at stake and I would expect him to ensure they come out with all guns blazing against Dundee.
“Nobody needs reminding of the potential consequences should United fail to win, but knowing Ranks he’ll have been working on the player’s minds all week and demanding a response.
“He’s one who certainly won’t give up so if there’s no reaction come Monday I’d be very surprised.”
Bilate didn’t expect his old club to be in such a sorry state when he was freed five months ago, and admits he’s puzzled as to their dire league position.
He added: “When I left in November, I honestly felt it was just a dip in form that was to blame for results.
“I was backing them to climb the table but unfortunately they’ve continued to have bad results.
“It’s hard to put your finger on why and it’s been painful even here back in Holland watching these bad results.
“I’ve got such an affinity with the club despite having only a short time in Scotland.
“I’ll be watching Monday night’s game and cheering on the boys, because relegation at Dens Park is unthinkable.
“I still have a lot of good friends at the club who know what this derby on Monday means to everyone.”