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Paul McGowan urges his Dundee team-mates to leave their mark on the Tayside derby

Dundee v Dundee United – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Dens Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Paul McGowan has urged his Dundee team-mates to make a name for themselves in Sunday’s Tayside derby and avoid a painful walk back to Dens Park.

McGowan and his colleagues will make the unique journey to Tannadice on foot and walk the gauntlet of home supporters for the 200-yard distance down the street.

The former Celtic player has suffered some painful return journeys after separate 6-2 defeats and he knows they need to be brave on the park to end a run of 10 Tannadice trips without victory against Dundee United.

On the nature of the away trip, McGowan said: “It’s strange to be honest. It’s not nice to be honest when you have to walk back up after a bad defeat down there, but it is strange.

“I don’t think you will get that anywhere in world football apart from here, a stone’s throw away. Walking down by the fans and getting the odd bit of abuse thrown at you.

“It’s strange but you wouldn’t want it any other way. Listen, we are looking forward to it. There’s a buzz about the place.

“When we won promotion, these were the games you were looking forward to.

“No disrespect to the Championship but going down to Ayr United and Alloa, it’s not nice, it’s not enjoyable. These are the games you want to play in. This is where we wanted to be, this is where we deserve to be after the season we had.

“The boys deserve every bit of it and need to go and enjoy it.

“But if they don’t go and play the way we have been playing, it will pass them by. So quickly the game passes you by. I have played in a few now and I have played in some that just pass you by.

“You are just not involved in the game and the game is over like that. So go and enjoy it, go and try things, take the ball and make a name for yourself. It’s the game to do it, it’s live on Sky, so a big game ahead for us.”

The teams met three times in the curtailed 2019-20 Championship season when United won promotion, while Dundee had the upper hand in the League Cup in 2017.

The previous meeting before that saw Dundee consign United to relegation in 2016 but McGowan feels the city and Scottish football benefit from both teams being in the top flight.

“It’s a massive game for the club, an exciting game for the players as well,” the 33-year-old said.

“We have missed them. They are great games to play in and it’s good for the city that these games are back.

“We just need to go and enjoy it and put on a performance, like we have been doing, and hopefully get a victory.

“I was surprised how big the games were in my first taste of the derby. It’s been a tough 18 months for everybody, so to have this back is great for the city and hopefully we can give our fans the bragging rights.

“It’s going to make a massive performance. The gaffer was saying we haven’t won down there for 17 years so it’s all to play for.

“If we go down there and play the way we have been playing, we will give ourselves a great chance. We just need to take our chances.”