The dust appears to have finally settled on the saga that was Tam Courts’ appointment as Dundee United manager.
Winds of change over the course of the campaign could quickly see the storm
whipping up again, of course.
However, I get the sense some of the noises coming out of Tannadice, particularly in the transfer market, are starting to appease sceptical and disgruntled supporters.
Of course, loyal and passionate Arabs are well within their rights to have concerns about the direction they are headed with Courts, inexperienced at Premiership level, as their boss.
Although, if the players he signs are all of the quality and experience of Charlie Mulgrew, I get the feeling fans may soon even start to warm to his appointment.
Other proven top-tier stars, former St Mirren midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes and ex-Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly, being linked with the Terrors points to an overall recruitment strategy that should win over a few who were having major doubts about the campaign ahead.
Of course, the best way for the Tangerines to get the supporters back onside is with
performances on the pitch.
Courts, Mulgrew & Co now know who they will face when the curtain comes up on the 2021/22 season.
United will be hoping it’s not a case of the difficult second album in their second term back in the top flight after a respectable domestic display last time out.
That said, it’s a really tough start for the Tangerines.
A New Firm derby to kick things off is a tasty one, champions Rangers then come to Tannadice and Hearts, St Johnstone and St Mirren are all to be faced before the first Dundee derby with both teams at the top table in five years.
It has the potential to be a baptism of fire for Courts, who you feel will need to get off to a strong start with the 39-year-old rookie boss likely to be under more pressure than your usual new manager.
Surrounding himself with seasoned pros with plenty of miles on the clock should negate what will no doubt be a huge learning curve for him.
While supporters may start braying for blood if things don’t go according to plan straight away, I wouldn’t count on the hierarchy at Tannadice having a similar reaction.
The United board, owner Mark Ogren and sporting director Tony Asghar are going to give this, a significant moment in their overall project with the club, time.
Financially, Ogren has invested hugely into this vision – developing their own players and, too, coaches.
The signing of Mulgrew, albeit a clear crowd pleaser, ticks both of those boxes.
It’s yet another signal of the direction United are heading.
Investing in their people, with Mulgrew both as a mentor for young players and as a coach himself, with a view to becoming sustainable.
As much as there may be cries for a quick fix in the coming months, United’s is not the kind of environment where knee-jerk reactions thrive.
It’s impossible to predict the outcome of a match that’s six rounds into the Premiership season, especially when we’re still, technically, on summer holidays!
However, with the release of league fixtures this week for Dundee and Dundee United, it’s difficult to not get ahead of yourself and focus on the derby clash.
The first top-flight meeting between the sides since 2016 will take place at Tannadice on September 18.
When it comes around, both teams will have five league games and a whole Premier Sports Cup group stage campaign under their belts.
Not only that, they are likely to have added a few new faces, with the Dark Blues returning to the top table and the Tangerines looking to build on a ninth-placed finish.
However, after a potentially provocative discussion on Twa Teams, One Street this week, it appears the general consensus is the Dee are the favourites at this stage.
Fellow-panellists George Cran, Graeme Finnan and ex-Dundee and United star Lee Wilkie all reckon James McPake’s men have the edge.
I understand their argument – the Dee are in a rich vein after promotion and it’s a new era at United with Tam Courts in charge.
For me, however, home advantage and top-tier experience tips the scales in the Terrors favour.
One thing’s for certain, though, debates like this show how sorely we’ve missed city derbies.
We’re almost through the second round of group fixtures at Euro 2020 and it’s starting to become clear who’s hot and who’s not.
Beyond the obvious (Scotland), France are looking really strong and, for me, are still big favourites to follow up their 2018 World Cup win with a European crown.
However, while they’re far from minnows, Italy have been an impressive surprise package.
Before the tournament the likes of Belgium, England and Portugal were more fancied, however, Roberto Mancini’s team have proven you can never discount the Azzurri at a major finals!