Errors may have cost Dundee dearly in the opening six games of the SPL season, but if there’s one place where mistakes are seized upon it is Celtic Park.
That’s the view of Dundee defender Gary Irvine going into a game most of the Dark Blues players would have immediately looked for when their place in the SPL was confirmed.
Barry Smith’s men have not had the best of starts on their return to the top flight, picking up just four points from their opening half-dozen matches, but the signs are there that Dundee are now finding their feet after being thrust on to a higher level.
Following a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Motherwell, Irvine believes his side can go to Glasgow with confidence although he is all too aware of the threat Celtic’s frontline will pose him and his team-mates.
”I think we’re playing good football and holding our own in games but we’ve been getting punished for small individual mistakes,” he said. ”You get punished at this level for it and we definitely can’t afford to do it on Saturday against a team like Celtic.”
Irvine takes heart from St Johnstone’s showing against Neil Lennon’s men on Saturday, when Saints came from behind to record a surprise 2-1 success at McDiarmid Park.
The Dundee players have been buoyed by that and will be looking to exploit any weaknesses they can find in Celtic’s game when the two sides meet on Saturday.
”It was good to see St Johnstone getting points. It gives us a wee bit of confidence going into the game but in the same breath I’m sure it gives them a massive kick up the backside,” Irvine continued.
”But it’s just been an example of how unusual the start of the season has been. With Rangers out of the league, I don’t think anybody looked ahead of what was going to happen.
”It was all about what was happening elsewhere so I suppose the fact that they have missed out on a few points gives all the other teams a glimmer of hope.
”Beating the champions is never easy but they did it, so it’s certainly possible.”
Like most of the Dundee players, Irvine planned to watch Celtic’s Champions League game against Benfica to see if any lessons could be learned.
”It’s always good to see the Scottish teams in the Champions League and from our own personal point of view we’ll be looking in,” he said.
”You can probably take bits and bobs from the game. The Champions League is a very high standard but it’s going to be the same personnel that’s going to be up against us a few days later, so I’m sure we can take some things from the game.”
Dundee fans have been reminded that the Celtic match will be all-ticket, with tickets available from Dens Park. No tickets will be available on the day from Celtic Park.