Continuing on from last months ex Dee interview with Juan Sara, former striker Steve Lovell was more than happy to answer a few questions about his time at Dens Park. Steve signed from Portsmouth and played for Dundee between seasons 2002 and 2005 before leaving to sign for Aberdeen for £250,000 following the Dark Blues relegation to the 1st Division.
You were at Dens for 3 seasons, played 98 games and scored 35 goals. Can you tell us of some of your greatest moments for the club?
I have to say playing in the derby games. There was always such a great atmosphere. We had a really good record over the 3 years I was there, losing only once.
Getting to the cup final was also such an amazing experience. I wish I could go back and take it all in again. I don’t think I really appreciated it enough at the time. I was young and maybe thought these finals were always around the corner but sadly they aren’t.
You scored some important goals in your time. What would you consider the most memorable for yourself?
I’d have to say the two against Celtic at home in a 2-2 draw. I also had one disallowed in that game for a high boot but I’m still not convinced by that decision. We won 3-2 really!
One of my favorite games was the Scottish Cup Quarter Final Replay when we beat Falkirk 4-1 AET. You came off the bench to score the 3rd and 4th goals but when the Bairns went 1-0, was there any doubt that this might not be our night?
I don’t think so. I believe we were on a long unbeaten run at the time. Confidence was high. I do remember the first leg well though. Playing at the old Brockville Park. I missed a few chances in that game and we really should have won that day. So being able to come on and score two in the replay was a great relief for me as I was my own worst critics when it came to how I played.
You played in the 2003 Scottish Cup Final defeat to Rangers. Most of the support felt we had what it took to win that match. Just how disappointed were the players after the match?
To reach a final and lose by a single goal from a set piece was really disappointing. I didn’t feel we played as well as we’d have liked and looking back at the team we had I felt we underachieved at times. We had some world-class players. Although we lost I have some very fond memories of that cup run and all that came with it.
What was it like leading the front line in Dundee’s first European adventure in 29 years?
I’ve got mixed emotions of that European adventure. On the plus side I’ve got scoring my first and Dundee’s first European goal in 29 years which was really special and something I’ll never forget.
But in the next round I stupidly went into a tackle with my foot open and ended up tearing my knee ligaments. That was first serious injury of my career. I was so keen to get back playing again that I did it again on my first game back against Hearts.
You had a habit of scoring against United. What was your favourite goal against them?
Every one of them, but if I had to pick one I’d say it was the 2-1 win at home when I came on as a sub. I have a picture of that goal framed on my wall.
You were around the club during administration in 2003. Going from a cup final to Europe to people losing their jobs, just how much of a toll did it take in the players who were kept on?
It was massive. No one’s position was safe at the club at that time. People were losing their jobs for no fault of their own. It was really hard to take in. Not only were we losing great players/staff we were losing our friends. I can still remember that day clearly.
Before your £250,000 move to Aberdeen, Jim Duffy was quoted as saying “He was a player who was prepared to take a significant wage cut to stay here, but circumstances dictated that this move was in the best interests of everyone concerned,”. It’s not often you hear this about players. How hard was it to leave Dens Park?
Yeah I always found being happy at a club was far more important than moving for more money. That’s just the way I was. If I felt good inside I would normally play better. Jim Duffy was always very understanding with me. We still keep in touch. I think that just shows what kind of guy he was.
Since your retirement, have you kept yourself involved in football or have you moved onto new projects?
As I currently still live in Scotland I’m always out and about watching games for my brother whose manager of Afc Bournemouth. He likes to keep an eye out for young talent so I’m always on the lookout for him.
I’m also half way through my level 2 coaching course.