James McPake has had a shocking lack of return from both Leigh Griffiths and Jason Cummings at Dens.
The Dark Blues boss is entitled to feel very aggrieved, having offered both players the chance to relaunch their fading careers.
Both men, particularly the on-loan Celtic striker, brought baggage to Dens, but have had ample opportunity to prove their detractors wrong by knuckling down and finding the kind of form with which they originally made their names.
Neither has come close to doing that – and that’s the fault of no one but themselves.
There are few sadder sights in football than wasted talents circling the drain and heading for the plughole, but when players are handed the chance to kick-start their vocations and refuse the life belt, it doesn’t just reflect badly on them, it also insults those who’ve shown faith in them, only to have it thrown back in their faces.
There are so many players who’ve missed out through bad luck and injury who would have run over broken glass for the chance of a good career in the game, that it’s hard to have a great degree of sympathy for those who have been given the opportunity but thrown it away.
Hitting the ground running is imperative for Dundee, Dundee United and St Johnstone on Tuesday.
The early winter shutdown has offered a chance to regroup and rethink their approach amid poor form shown by all three.
That opportunity to reorganise and redouble their efforts needs to kick in when they square up to Livingston, St Mirren and Hearts in midweek.
All three managers have started strengthening and are chasing the targets they hope can reboot their seasons, amid understandable concerns from their fans.
Talent not enough
Callum Davidson and James McPake need big characters, but also good characters who can grasp the enormity of the challenges faced at McDiarmid and Dens Park.
Talent alone isn’t enough, as has been proven at Dundee with the failures of Leigh Griffiths and Jason Cummings to come anywhere close to living up to their billing.
Application, graft, desire and a proper professional attitude are the key requisites now as both Saints and the Dees face battles to pull clear of the bottom spots in the Premiership.
United bought breathing space with their start to the season, but Tam Courts will be keenly aware that unless his side starts to find the net with regularity those hard won early season gains could yet be squandered.
All three need their identified targets to be in place in the next couple of weeks, as opposed to in time for next season.
The level of strengthening required at each of the three clubs is dependent on the particular problems each faces
But as I said here recently, the lack of goals are screaming out for all of them and solutions must be found very soon.
The cost of failing to resolve that glaring problem now has to be weighed against the enormous potential price to be paid at the end of the season should relegation become a reality.