St Johnstone midfielder Murray Davidson doesn’t expect Dundee to find themselves caught up in a relegation battle as the season pans out.
Last season, the Dark Blues’ city neighbours United lost their top flight status and dropped down into the Championship.
But Davidson, who faces the Dens men in Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off at McDiarmid Park, believes Paul Hartley’s side have the quality needed to ease clear of the drop zone.
He said: “I’m surprised to see Dundee down there because they have a lot of good players and are an established Scottish Premiership team now.
“It’s still early in the season and I think a lot of people look too much into it.
“I don’t see Dundee being in any trouble but they will be looking to pick up results as soon as possible.
“But our main concern is St Johnstone.
“Everyone was extremely disappointed after losing to Kilmarnock at the weekend so it’s very important that we bounce back.
“It was the most disappointed I’ve been in a long time.”
Hartley’s men are eager to move off the foot of the table after losing 2-0 to Hearts, despite rattling the woodwork four times.
Davidson said: “I’ve spoken to a few Hearts fans who were at the game on Saturday and I think Dundee were a little bit unlucky.
“This is a derby and it will always be a tough game.
“I’m sure it will be very competitive.
“It’s built up to be a big game and we do know the importance of them.
“Sometimes with derbies the fans look more into it than the players.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to us but it can be extra special for the fans.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to get a positive result for everyone.”
Davidson has retained a regular starting spot in manager Tommy Wright’s line-up but he is taking nothing for granted.
“We had four midfielders on the bench at the weekend so if you aren’t playing well you won’t be in the team,” he said.
“There are plenty of options all over the pitch.
“Numbers-wise, this is as strong as it’s been.
“Looking around the dressing room this year there is plenty of competition.
“Training has always been good and competitive.
“The manager can only pick 11 players so everyone is trying to get a place, which is the way it should be.”
Meanwhile, Saints boss Tommy Wright believes Blair Alston has found his feet in the top flight.
The 24-year-old former Falkirk midfielder has yet to find the target for the Perth side since stepping up from the Championship in the summer but his overall game has pleased a manager who pursued him for months.
Wright said: “I have been really happy with Blair since he arrived.
“Obviously, with coming to a new club and stepping up a level, it takes time to settle.
“You are playing against better defenders and better goalkeepers in this league – and that’s no disrespect to the Championship because there are a lot of good teams there.
“In the last two games at Ross County and against Kilmarnock, Blair has been very good.
“I think he feels he needs a goal but I don’t because I’ve been happy with him and I know there are goals in him.”