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James McPake calls on Dundee to maintain standards from Motherwell win

(Image credit: Ian Rutherford)

James McPake insists Dundee cannot rest on their laurels following the convincing 3-0 cinch Premiership victory over Motherwell at Dens Park.

The Dark Blues, who are sitting second bottom of the league, were underdogs on Saturday against the fifth-top Steelmen, who had won their last two games against Aberdeen and Hearts.

However, Dundee took a firm grip on the match from kick-off and netted two first-half goals through Luke McCowan and Danny Mullen, with Ryan Sweeney setting the seal on the home win with their third shortly after the interval.

McPake is determined his players will set even higher standards and secure another vital three points when Tayside rivals St Johnstone visit Dens on Wednesday.

The Dundee manager is fully aware that will be far from easy, however, as Callum Davidson’s side will be looking to bounce back strongly after surrendering a lead to lose to two late Hibs goals on Saturday.

McPake said: “I am delighted for the players as they deserved that.

“We have started this second group of fixtures OK. We have taken six out of nine points.

“But it is done now and we have St Johnstone coming here on Wednesday night. We need to repeat that again – we can’t let it drop.

“Against Motherwell, we looked like we had real energy and desire. I think the players did the football club proud.

“The way we controlled the game from start to finish was pleasing but it is done now.

“We will recover and then we have a very tough game against a good St Johnstone team who will come here hurting on Wednesday night after what happened – winning their game until late on against Hibs.

“So we will need that plus a wee bit more to go and get a positive result against them.”

A good day against Motherwell for Dundee was overshadowed by a hamstring injury to key central defender Lee Ashcroft.

The 28-year-old had to hobble off in the 54th minute to be replaced by the experienced Liam Fontaine.

McPake said: “To be fair, Lee was complaining about it a wee bit before and we had told Fonts to warm up.

“But just as we were about to make the change, one of their players ran through and he had to open up.

“He felt the pop so that was the disappointing part and we will miss him.

“But to be fair to Fonts, he was great when he came on and is a real calming influence.”

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander was left to ponder how to fix his players’ mentality after they followed consecutive wins over Aberdeen and Hearts with a lacklustre performance.

“I want to say it’s a shock but it’s not the first time we have played poorly against a team who are struggling for results,” Alexander said on his club’s social media channels.

“We can rise to it against any opponent in this division but we can also drop against a level of opponent, and that’s purely in the mind.

“It’s not the first time it has happened so we have to make sure we fix it.

“Nobody can tell me Dundee have more quality than us, but they deserved to win the game.”

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