McPake blow

Dundee defender James McPake has had further surgery on his injured knee but manager Paul Hartley is hopeful he will be fit for pre-season.

McPake has been out since suffering a fractured kneecap against Dundee United on January 2 last year.

The 32-year-old made a comeback in the under-20s in December but did not progress as hoped.

Hartley said: “James has had a little tidy-up on his knee. It’s something that we have had planned.

“We will probably not see James till next season, hopefully pre-season. He has been working hard, but we just felt for this last little part he needed that little tidy-up.

“It’s been difficult, he has been out nearly 18 months. It has been mentally (difficult) more than anything, but he is getting through it. He’s a strong character and it will be good to see him back.

“He’s still a wee bit away but we are right behind him and we have good medical staff here. He’s got a coaching staff that are going to support him and he’s got good team-mates also.”

Meanwhile, Hartley is not spending much time thinking about the prospect of Celtic arriving at Dens Park on Sunday aiming to wrap up the Ladbrokes Premiership title. They would have that opportunity if Aberdeen lose to Hearts on Saturday.

Hartley, who picked up the Ladbrokes manager of the month award for February, said: “It’s not something we have mentioned. Depending on results on Saturday then there’s a possibility Celtic could come here and win the title. That’s not something we want.

“We need the points just as much as Celtic do. But it’s not something that has entered our head. We are preparing for Celtic, we know we are up against a good team. But we have a game plan to set up and try and hurt Celtic.

“We will defend as a team and when we attack we have got to attack in numbers and be really positive in the final third.

“We have got to try and get players forward, we have got to be on the front foot, we have got to try and cause them problems.”

Dundee defender James McPake has had further surgery on his injured knee but manager Paul Hartley is hopeful he will be fit for pre-season.

McPake has been out since suffering a fractured kneecap against Dundee United on January 2 last year.

The 32-year-old made a comeback in the under-20s in December but did not progress as hoped.

Hartley said: “James has had a little tidy-up on his knee. It’s something that we have had planned.

“We will probably not see James till next season, hopefully pre-season. He has been working hard, but we just felt for this last little part he needed that little tidy-up.

“It’s been difficult, he has been out nearly 18 months. It has been mentally (difficult) more than anything, but he is getting through it. He’s a strong character and it will be good to see him back.

“He’s still a wee bit away but we are right behind him and we have good medical staff here. He’s got a coaching staff that are going to support him and he’s got good team-mates also.”

Meanwhile, Hartley is not spending much time thinking about the prospect of Celtic arriving at Dens Park on Sunday aiming to wrap up the Ladbrokes Premiership title. They would have that opportunity if Aberdeen lose to Hearts on Saturday.

Hartley, who picked up the Ladbrokes manager of the month award for February, said: “It’s not something we have mentioned. Depending on results on Saturday then there’s a possibility Celtic could come here and win the title. That’s not something we want.

“We need the points just as much as Celtic do. But it’s not something that has entered our head. We are preparing for Celtic, we know we are up against a good team. But we have a game plan to set up and try and hurt Celtic.

“We will defend as a team and when we attack we have got to attack in numbers and be really positive in the final third.

“We have got to try and get players forward, we have got to be on the front foot, we have got to try and cause them problems.”