Liam Craig isn’t surprised that Dundee fans are seeing the best of Marcus Haber.
Because the St Johnstone midfielder believes it was only a bad injury that prevented him from being a McDiarmid Park success.
The Canadian striker has scored six times for the Dark Blues since he arrived at Dens Park as a free agent at the end of October.
And Haber’s impact can’t be measured in goals alone, with the former West Brom man contributing with assists and providing a much-needed physical presence up front that Dundee were lacking.
It didn’t work out for him in his first spell in Scotland at McDiarmid Park but one of his team-mates back then could see his potential.
Craig said: “The big thing for Marcus when he was at Perth was his cruciate injury.
“It has taken him a while longer than he would have hoped for to get back to his best, maybe, but I said when he arrived at Dundee that he would be a great signing for him.
“You just have to look at the size of him and his athleticism. He will get goals. That’s what he’s done at Dundee.
“He was a bit unlucky here.
“I can remember a pre-season game against a Spanish side and he scored that day. He’d come up from West Brom and done well but then he got the injury.
“He’s great lad off the pitch as well. He’s showing now what an asset he can be. You get the ball into the right areas for him and he’ll score goals.
“His time at St Johnstone probably put him in a good mind-set for joining Dundee – knowing that he could do well at this level.”
Haber will be back in Perth on Saturday for the Tayside derby and Saints will need to do a better job of negating Haber than Motherwell managed in Dundee’s last away game.
Craig said: “It’s important that we stop the service to him but it’s also important we look at what we’re good at and hurt Dundee.
“I was suspended that day (when the Dark Blues thrashed Motherwell) and I saw the scores coming in. 5-1 at half-time was very impressive.
“Motherwell will be the first to say that a lot of the goals were preventable.
“That’s something we need to look at as well. We need to stop shipping silly goals.
“It’s important we get back to the basics, defend from the front and make sure we’re hard to beat.”
The last time the teams met Dundee won 3-0 but Craig does not believe the scoreline tells the full story.
“It was a frustrating one,” the former Falkirk and Hibs man recalled. “We wanted to end the year on a high and go into the break on a high.
“That game came off the back of a decent result against Rangers.
“What it showed was that if we’re not at it 100% we’ll get turned over. And we did that day.
“I’m not really sure what went wrong. Maybe we had too much of the ball!
“It’s always difficult coming off a midweek game, especially with the amount of effort we put into that Rangers match.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t happen for you. That was one of those type of days.
“We went 1-0 down and Blair (Alston) hit the bar with a free-kick, if I remember rightly. Murray (Davidson) had a header over the bar, which wasn’t like him. Goals change games. Two minutes later we were 2-0 down.”
A home win would put 10 points between the two clubs and take Saints very close to being top six certainties.
“We’ll take confidence from the second half against Rangers and look forward to it,” said Craig. The fact that we’re disappointed to lose 3-2 at Ibrox shows how far we’ve come as a team.
“It’s another opportunity to strengthen our position in the top six. We’re in a healthy position in the league.
“Dundee will be aiming to cut the gap to four points but the teams below us would love to be in the position we’re in.
“We’re still trying to catch Hearts. A win on Saturday will help our case with that one, and go a long way to securing a top six spot.
“By winning games like this one we are going to put a big gap between ourselves and the team we’re playing. It was the same at Ross County a couple of weeks ago.
“If we’re 100%, we’ve got enough good players in our team to hurt Dundee. It’s a derby game and we want our home form to improve.”