sport

Smith set players challenge

Dundee boss Barry Smith has challenged his players to make the most of their SPL respite ahead of Saturdays Scottish Cup tie at Livingston.

The Dark Blues, who returned to the top flight this season following a seven-year absence, have been battling at the foot of the league but have a break from the rigours of their survival battle when they head to Almondvale for Saturday's fourth-round tie.

Smith, therefore, wants them to take advantage of this weekend's break from their dogfight in the hope it can spark a cup run.

Smith said: "It's been tough this season and we've had to learn the hard way at times.

"We knew all along it was going to be like that but this is something of a break from it all.

"There are stresses and strains in the SPL so this will be a different sort of experience from that but it's still not going to be easy against a good side like Livingston.

"I have a group of players who always give their best and they will want to stay in the cup for as long as possible.

"I know what it takes to get all the way to a final, which I will be stressing to the players beforehand.

"To be fair, they know the importance of the tie and have been preparing all week towards getting a positive result."

Dundee will be favourites to book their place in the next round but Smith is adamant they will not be underestimating their First Division opponents.

He added: "We've had them watched on a few occasions.

"We know what they have to offer as a team with some good players all over the pitch.

"We will respect Livingston the way they we respect every other team which we come up against.

"That's what we always do and this is no time for approaching things in any different way.

"But if our players show the sort of attitude and commitment levels they have done in recent weeks then we will give ourselves every chance of winning the tie.

"But we all know how the cup works so we have to be on our toes from the very start and go about our job in a professional manner.

"I think they like to play the game in an open manner much like ourselves.

"That means it has got the makings of a good cup tie.

"But we will only enjoy it if we can get the right result to put us into the next round of the competition. That is the most important thing as far as we're concerned."