Dundee have the spine of a Premiership team, according to Gavin Rae.
But the former Dark Blues skipper fears they face another season in the Championship unless they start showing some backbone.
The Dee squad is peppered with top-flight experience in every position, yet has gone four second tier games without a win.
It’s a run that has seen them drop out of the promotion play-off places.
But former star Rae – who captained the last Dundee team to win the Championship – reckons they can get back there if their top men dig deep.
“If you look at the Dundee side, there are guys with plenty of Premiership experience there,” he said.
“You’ve got Jack Hamilton at the back, Christophe Berra in front of him, Graham Dorrans in the middle, Kane Hemmings up top… the list goes on.
“These are the guys James McPake will be asking to drive the team on in the second half of the season.
“They’ve been there and done it – some of them at a very high level.
“So you have to think that if they turn it on, they’ve got enough about them to get Dundee firing again.
“Things have been tough in recent weeks and being out of the play-off places is not good.
“The players have to fight to turn that round because another season in the Championship isn’t ideal – and it could easily happen.
“But for me, there should be enough experience and quality there to turn the tide.”
Rae encountered both Berra and Dorrans during his own playing career.
He knows both have the necessary traits to inspire Dundee as they attempt to claw their way up the Championship.
And his own memories of leading the Dark Blues to promotion centre on the mental toughness displayed by key colleagues.
“I came up against Christophe on a number of occasions,” said Rae.
“He was always a tough opponent – and he’s got loads of experience to draw on.
“Graham Dorrans, I actually roomed with him on Scotland duty.
“It was very late in my international career and very early in his to be fair!
“But you just have to look at his career to see the quality he’s got. You don’t play in the Premier League for as many years as he did without being a very, very good footballer.
“These are the guys that can turn it round for Dundee – the big characters.
“The season I captain the team to the Championship title, we had loads of characters in that dressing room, and it kept us going through what was a rollercoaster season.
“It was touch and go at times, but guys like Peter McDonald, Ian Davidson, myself, Kyle Benedictus and Christian Nade kept it ticking over.
“You need leaders in any successful team, and with Christophe and Graham in the current side, they should be the ones setting the standards.”