James McPake is certain his strikers can fire Dundee to their first cup semi-final at Hampden in 15 years.

The Dark Blues, who face Tayside rivals St Johnstone at Dens tonight in the quarter-final of the Premier Sports Cup, are still licking their wounds after their painful 1-0 derby defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday.

That loss left McPake’s men still searching for their first Premiership victory of the season and they have now failed to score in their last three games.

However, the manager is confident that it is only a matter of time before on-loan Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths along with fellow front men Jason Cummings and Cillian Sheridan start hitting the back of the net.

McPake hopes Saints will be the first to suffer and Dundee will finally be back at Hampden for a semi-final for the first time since losing in the Scottish Cup against Gretna in 2006.

The 37-year-old said: “Watching the derby back I’m more disappointed because I fully believe we should have taken a point.

“We started very well and created some real chances.

“We’re going into a quarter-final pleased we’re creating those opportunities.

“How it’s not going in at the minute is the frustrating thing but that’ll change.

“The players know if we keep creating chances with the strikers we’ve got they’ll start going in.

“So will I change a lot against St Johnstone? Probably not because we’re playing pretty well.

“We’re hopeful the team we pick can create those chances again.

“They will go in. How can I say that with such certainty?

DUNDEE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Dundee's Leigh Griffiths is frustrated at full time during the cinch Premiership match between Dundee United and Dundee at Tannadice Stadium on September 19, 2021, in Dundee, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“I played against Leigh often enough when he was at Celtic.

“I played against Cillian and I played against Jason in training at Hibs but he was only young. I know their qualities.

“The goals will come. Those names put fear into defenders, and Leigh Griffiths puts fear into any defender.

“We have a chance now to get this club to Hampden for the first time in 15 years.”

Dundee, who won promotion through the play-offs last season, are now propping up the Premiership.

However, while admitting his team need to do better, McPake is quietly confident they can beat cup holders St Johnstone tonight.

The Dark Blues narrowly lost against Saints in the Scottish Cup last season to a solitary Guy Melamed goal and the manager insists his team has improved since that game.

He added: “We showed last season we could compete against St Johnstone and we’ve got stronger since then.

“I’m saying there’s not a lot wrong and I’m standing here bottom of the league and winless. But we’re creating and look solid at the back.

“Look, we’ve been here before when things haven’t been going right. We always find a way and we will find a way to get it right at this football club.

“I’ve got huge belief in this group. The players have huge belief in themselves. They’ve shown that. They’ve had setbacks in the past but came back from them.”

“We played Dundee United on the Sunday, we have the cup quarter final on the Wednesday and then Rangers on the Saturday.

“There’s a different pressure, it’s a different stress but it’s one we’re delighted to have at this football club.

“I’d much rather that than being in the Championship.”

Dundee skipper Charlie Adam, who is recovering from a groin problem, will be given a late fitness test along with centre-half Ryan Sweeney who picked up a head knock against United on Sunday but striker Danny Mullen will definitely miss out as he recovers from ankle surgery.