Dundee manager Tony Docherty will dedicate their achievements this season to Joe Shaughnessy after his captain was diagnosed with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

The defender faces surgery and a lengthy spell out but Docherty vowed to keep him as involved as possible throughout his time on the sidelines.

The 31-year-old Irishman suffered the knee injury early in Dundee’s recent draw with Rangers and the diagnosis has confirmed the club’s fears.

Dundee begin the run-in for a European place when they host cinch Premiership leaders Celtic on Sunday as they aim to overturn a two-point deficit on St Mirren and Shaughnessy will be high in the thoughts of Docherty and his players.

The manager said: “It’s a rupture of the ACL. The surgeon was in earlier and Joe will be going in for an operation.

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“We are absolutely gutted for him. But we have such a tight dressing room and Joe is our captain and anything we do between now and the end of the season, we will be doing it for Joe. Because he has been there for us, for the players, every day.

“You won’t get a better captain than Joe Shaughnessy. He is first in every day, he sets an example around the training ground, he is great with every player.

“He is really an integral part and I will bring him into the staff for the amount of time he is out to make sure he is still involved, because he is an intelligent boy as well and he certainly has a lot of uses within the organisation.

“It’s not a case of Joe is injured and he won’t be here, Joe is an integral part of everything here.”

When asked how long the centre-back will be out for, Docherty said: “It can vary. Once he comes out of his operation we will have a clearer idea but he will start his rehab pre-season when the group gather again and we will see where it is.

“I am not big on giving timescales because I think that puts unnecessary pressure on Joe. We will see how it goes.

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“Joe was my first signing and I have known Joe since he was a kid at Aberdeen when I was up there.

“So I know his mentality, I know he is such a strong character, and I would put my mortgage on Joe recovering from this and being even stronger.”