Dundee manager Mark McGhee has admitted that serving his touchline ban was much harder than expected and missing two games with Covid was a “dreadful” experience.
McGhee had an outstanding six-match ban from his time as Motherwell manager still to serve when he was appointed as successor to James McPake at Dundee in February.
That meant sitting in the stand as his side fought crucial matches in their fight against relegation but the situation then worsened for McGhee when a positive Covid test meant he had to stay away from the club completely for the final two matches of his ban.
The manager admitted that he had thought it would be easy to cope with the suspension when he took the job but the reality was much more difficult to handle.
He said: “Yeah. I think I have to say that the impact on me personally, the stress from being away from the dugout not just the fact I had Covid and was at home for two of the games, but even for the other four games, it was dreadful.
“It was much, much worse than I imagined it was going to be, you know. Before I thought ‘This will be fine, I’ll manage this’ but it was horrible.
“I mean, in terms of the influence I could have on the side, it wasn’t a lot, but that wasn’t the most important thing. Simon [Rusk] managed the dugout as well as he could and it was really just personally it felt dreadful being up there in the stand and the particularly being at home.”
McGhee explained that his frustration was worse when at home with Covid, particularly as he watched his side take on Rangers in the Scottish Cup last weekend when Dundee were trailing 2-0 in the second half.
“I don’t mind telling you the story, but on Sunday, I was looking at it with ten minutes to go,” he said. “And I thought, you know, Rangers had made a lot of changes and I thought they’d sort of undermined themselves a wee bit by disrupting their flow by making the changes they made.
“I saw an opportunity, where I thought if we could just nick one with ten minutes to go, then Rangers could be in trouble.
“I was trying to get a message through saying ‘Look, why don’t we get push three up? You keep three up there, don’t ask them to come back and just get the ball forward as early we possibly can.
” And when I got through it to Dave Mackay it was 3-0. I was watching it on the telly, but the telly was like two minutes behind the real time.
“By the time I got through to Dave it was 3-0 obviously too late for that. But that’s the sort of thing that can happen in that situation, which is pretty dreadful, you know.”
McGhee is back in the dugout on Sunday when his side face Rangers at Dens Park, this time on Premiership duty.