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Mature O'Hara can be key for Dundee, says Gartland

The assistant manager has praised the 21-year-old's response to being out of the side.

Mark O'Hara celebrates his second goal against Rangers.
Mark O'Hara celebrates his second goal against Rangers. SNS

Goal hero Mark O'Hara has a huge role at Dundee having displayed maturity beyond his years, says assistant manager Graham Gartland.

The midfielder struck twice as the Dark Blues beat Rangers 2-1 at Dens Park on Friday night, hauling themselves off the bottom of the table in the process.

The 21-year-old had found himself out of Neil McCann's starting line-up after the manager switched formation in an effort to transform Dundee's fortunes.

Gartland praised the youngster's attitude during his spell warming the bench, with O'Hara pressing for game time with the under 20s in an effort to force his way back into the first team picture.

He said: "Mark started really well, then we changed our shape and he found himself out.

"In fairness to him he went and asked to play in some under 20s games to work his way back into the squad and showed some real maturity for someone who is only 21.

"He's earned his place, he's always a goal threat because of his brilliant timing into the box and he's got the legs to get there."

'He's earned his place, he's always a goal threat because of his brilliant timing into the box and he's got the legs to get there.'
Graham Gartland on Mark O'Hara

He added: "Mark's got a great turn of pace, he's 6ft 2in, the boy can shift and when he wants to put the boot down, he can.

"He has a massive role at this club, we've a young squad we want to build this team around and he's definitely part of that."

The victory over the Ibrox outfit ended a run of six games without a win for Dundee.

Gartland, though, says it was only a matter of time until it clicked for McCann's side and the result came as no surprise.

"It's just reward for how we've been playing," he said. "It wasn't a surprise, we knew there was a performance in us.

"We weren't at rock bottom, we've been playing well, there have been moments where we haven't been good, but we showed more game intelligence and resilience to see out the win."

Dundee head north to Ross County on Saturday to take on the Staggies in the Scottish Premiership.

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