‘Safe’ football cost St Johnstone the chance to take all three points from Livingston in midweek, according to Craig Levein.
But Dare Olufunwa has pledged the Perth side will go full throttle to try and deliver a perfect New Year gift for Saints fans at Dens Park.
The former Southampton and Liverpool defender knows the importance of the clash with local rivals, Dundee to the McDiarmid Park club’s supporters.
And the players could choose no better venue at which to end their winless Premiership run.
“We want to go into the break on a high,” said Olufunwa.
“Dundee away is one of the biggest games of the season for us – it definitely is for the fans.
“I’ve spoken to a few of them who have told me!
“They’re very passionate about this game. All the boys will be bang up for it.
“When we played them at home the crowd stuck with us even when we were 2-0 down.
“Then Max (Kucheriavyi) came up with two late goals.
96th minute of the match ⚠️
His 2nd goal of the game ⚽️⚽️
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) September 4, 2023
“I’m sure our fans will make it a great atmosphere and we’ll be doing everything to make sure we give them three points.”
Reflecting on the draw with Livingston, Olufunwa added: “The gaffer told us after the game that the positive to take is we got a clean-sheet.
“We kept the gap above Livingston at seven and it’s a point that pushes us a little further up the table.
“Since the manager came in we’ve started playing a lot more football.
“I don’t know what happened against Livingston – maybe we went into our shell a little bit.
Proving his worth to a new manager
Olufunwa had a long wait for his first start under Levein but, having played two of the last three matches, patience and training ground perseverance have paid off.
“When the manager first arrived I sat down with him,” the 22-year-old recalled.
“He’d never seen me play before.
“There was a friendly game with St Mirren during the first international break, which I missed because I was ill.
“It’s hard for a manager to put in a player he’s never seen.
“I’ve worked really hard in training and I got my chance against Rangers. I thought I was alright.
“That’s another chance I’ve had against Livingston and it’s about me taking every one that I get.
“Hopefully, that’s what I’ve been doing.
“Essentially, it’s about me earning his trust.
“I need to prove to him that he should be picking me.
“I need to show every day in training that I’m a good player and, especially when it comes to games, I’ve got to put everything out there.”