Dundee midfielder Paul McGowan feels the hardest training of his career is paying off as Jim McIntyre begins to make his mark at Dens Park.
McGowan's return to the starting line-up following injury has coincided with a three-game unbeaten run which culminated in a 4-0 midweek victory over Hamilton.
Dundee still prop up the Ladbrokes Premiership table ahead of Sunday's visit of Rangers but McGowan feels the team are on the up after losing their first four games under McIntyre.
"The manager has come in and worked us really hard," the former Celtic and St Mirren player said.
"He has been brutally honest with the full team, and I think that's what we needed. We needed that boot up the backside, because we weren't doing enough as a team. We were miles off it, I don't think anyone could have got any pass marks.
"He has come in with a clean slate and the way training has gone and what he wants us to do is starting to show on the field now.
"We can only keep looking up. You can see the boys are a lot more positive."
McGowan was in the midst of a six-week absence when McIntyre replaced Neil McCann.
"The manager has demanded so much from us," he said. "Training has probably been the hardest in my career.
"But I feel the fittest I have felt. You can see the full place is buying into what the manager is wanting. And I am just happy for the players because they put so much into training and other games I felt we have been hard done to. I was delighted for the boys to win 4-0.
"He is telling us the distances we are doing are through the roof.
"I can feel it. I'm 31 and I was struggling with injury there. I wasn't anywhere near fit enough, even when I came back.
"I have been put on a programme and luckily it is starting to pay off for me. I feel so much fitter, playing the full 90, injury-free, and I'm grateful for that.
"I think other boys are buying into it and they can feel the difference as well. It's a good place to be right now."