Wednesday night's win over St Mirren brought to an end a winless streak in the league that was approaching the three-month mark, and sparked the possibility that Dundee could yet avoid relegation this season.
The gap to safety is still a mammoth 14 points – and there are just nine games left in which to somehow claw that back – but the win has renewed confidence around the club and perhaps vindicated the decision to sack Barry Smith and appoint John Brown. Next up for Dundee is Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Dens tomorrow, with another victory needed to keep the momentum going.
"We've nothing to lose at this stage," said Gary Harkins, the deserved recipient of the man of the match award on Wednesday. "We have nine cup finals. We've come back from a goal down twice in the last two league games. Inverness are on a good run but we'll just get in their faces and play the way we have been playing. We have a good team, we've been unlucky at times."
The visit of Inverness has personal significance for Brown. The interim manager enjoyed various derby jousts with Maurice Malpas, the Inverness assistant manager and former Dundee United player, and was later a Rangers team-mate of Terry Butcher, the Inverness manager. "I know them well," said Brown. "I played against Maurice when he was at United and I was with Dundee. And I played with Terry at Rangers. They are massively experienced and they've done a magnificent job up at Inverness this season.
"Terry is a huge character and he'll have his players fired up for coming here but our boys are on a high now and we're relishing it. There is still a big gulf in points but we have that win on the board and it will ask a question of the teams above. Our boys are getting stronger, they are believing they can turn games round in their favour and win them now."
Rab Douglas, Dundee's venerable goalkeeper, had come in for criticism for some recent performances but was a key figure in Wednesday's win, pulling off a number of crucial saves to keep St Mirren at bay. "Rab was absolutely brilliant," Harkins said. "He made a couple of saves in the first half to keep us in the game. If he didn't do that the game was over.
"He was injured as well, but that's not a bad thing because he's better with one leg anyway! I don't know why he even bothers to kick the ball because he's far better throwing it. He was brilliant though and deserves all the credit."