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Julen Etxabeguren is determined to help Dundee extend the gap to the bottom sides in the Premiership after finishing up before the break with a vital win over St Johnstone.

The 3-0 victory over Saints at Dens Park sent the Dark Blues into the three-week winter break on a high and Julen, who played a key role in keeping the clean sheet alongside Kosta Gadzhalov, says that is exactly what they were after going into the match.

He said: “It was an important game for us, we had to get a result.

“We wanted to go into the break with a good feeling and have a gap between us and the bottom teams.

“I think we needed the three points, it was really important for us.

“It’s such a competitive league and all the teams are even — every team can beat every team.

“When you win, it’s really important and the points can open up a gap which is also important.”

That gap to the teams at the bottom is five points to Hamilton in 11th and six to the side currently rooted to the foot of the table, Inverness.

And ahead of the league action restarting at the end of the month against Aberdeen, Etxabeguren says the breathing space given to the Dark Blues by that win and their recent good home form means they can start looking up rather than below in the second half of the season.

He added: “I think we can still get there (the top six), to be honest.

“The last two months we have been playing well and getting good results.

“Some results have been better than other games but that’s part of football.

“I think we are heading in the right direction. We got the result against St Johnstone which meant we can enjoy the break with good feelings.

“It’s a crazy league this season. Before the last game there was just four points difference between the bottom of the league and the top six teams. I think it’s going to be like this for the whole season.

“If we are able to open up a gap between ourselves and the bottom teams I think we can start looking forward.”

Former Real Sociedad youth Julen has been at Dundee now for 18 months after signing from East Fife following a break from the professional game to study.

Now, though, he’s delighted to be part of things at Dens Park.

He said: “When I wasn’t playing full-time football, I was missing it.

“When I was in Spain, I was training every day and you miss it but I can’t complain now. I’m back to full-time football and I’m very happy.”

n Dundee Development left-back Conor Quigley has joined Stirling Albion on loan until the end of the season.


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