There was a huge sigh of relief down Tannadice way this week.
Well two if you count Dundee United’s coming back from a goal down to hammer League Two Elgin City 6-1 in the Premier Sports Cup on Wednesday night.
The real weight off the shoulders came in the form of Ryan Edwards agreeing a new deal with the club.
The big defender has signed a one-year contract extension, meaning he is tied to the Terrors until 2023.
With clubs south of the border sniffing around the 27-year-old, his opting to remain with the Tangerines is a huge boost as the club enter a new dawn under head coach Tam Courts.
He was a stand-out last season, at both ends of the park, and, you feel, will be a crucial figure as United look to improve on last season’s ninth-placed finish.
They can now rest assured they’ll have the Liverpudlian centre-half to call upon when the new Premiership term gets under way with a trip to Aberdeen on August 1.
United’s top priority now has to be trying, if they can, to get fellow-key men Benjamin Siegrist and Lawrence Shankland to follow Edwards’ lead.
They are just as, if not more, important to the spine of Courts’ side.
Goalkeeper Benji was United’s undoubted Player of the Year last time out and, for my money, the best stopper in the top flight by some distance.
And in Shankland they have a hitman who you feel is ready to recapture the form that earned him four Scotland caps and suitors including some of the biggest clubs on these shores.
Of course, for both Benji and Shanks, the option of a big move still remains.
Competition for their signatures will be fierce but it is encouraging to see United being aggressive in trying to hold on to their star talent.
The Edwards deal was done and dusted in swift fashion and, given they’ve already opened talks with Shankland, you would hope that’s the next source of good news for the Tangerines.
I said previously in this column that it’s sign a new deal or sell for Shankland and Siegrist but, given their importance to the team, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to keep them at the club beyond the summer window closing.
Yes, they would likely lose out on some cash if either were to go in January or the end of the 2021/22 season.
However, if last season – and even the early Premier Sports Cup action – has told us
anything, it’s that the duo have such value to United on the pitch that selling them now could prove catastrophic.
Finding another Siegrist, another Shankland is easier said than done.
Taking the time to weigh up their options, suss out some targets and make moves between now and the end of the new term isn’t the worst strategy for United.
That said, getting deals done now would yield one almighty exhale of breath!
It had been a while since I’d seen Dundee in the flesh before covering Tuesday night’s 4-0 win over Brora Rangers.
And, honestly, I thought I’d showed up at the wrong ground or was watching another team.
Albeit, it was ‘only Brora’, the Dark Blues were absolutely electric at Dens Park as they swatted aside the Highland League champions in their Premier Sports Cup Group C opener.
They are now a side unrecognisable from the one I remember covering in the early part of last season.
Huge credit for that turnaround must go to boss James McPake.
He’s got the Dee playing with a confidence and positivity that would frighten any opponent.
They’re truly on a roll from promotion and that can only bode well for their return to the Premiership this season.
What has been clear for a while now is former Dundee United winger Paul McMullan will be a key man for the team on the other side of the street next season.
He did the usual against Brora – bagging two assists – and managed to score two goals of his own as well.
Adding the latter to his game is of huge significance.
One of the criticisms levelled at him at Tannadice was his lack of end product and inability to make the step up to the top flight.
He’s righted one wrong and looks set to do another.
Arbroath fans were privy to one of football’s finest sights as East Fife called in at Gayfield this week.
No, not an advertising hoarding cracking off boss Dick Campbell’s dome – a clip from his post-match Arbroath TV interview that has now been widely-circulated online.
“Watch your back!”
Seriously, though, well done Fermer & Arbroath for providing brilliant coverage for fans who couldn’t be there for @EastFifeFC
— Ewan Smith (@ewansmithpr) July 15, 2021
What I’m talking about is David Gold having to go in goals after Calum Antell’s sending off on with 22 minutes to go on Wednesday.
Outfielders between the sticks are all too rare a sight in the game – but something that always adds extra drama.
Credit to Gold for keeping a clean sheet as they ran out 2-0 winners.