Dundee United captain Mark Reynolds admits he can’t wait to face former club Aberdeen in the Premiership next season.
The Tangerines skipper – who won the League Cup with Derek McInnes’ men in 2014 and made 237 appearances for the Dons – is looking forward to a top-flight clash between the teams in the wake of United’s Championship title triumph.
However, the 32-year-old admits the games will test the football loyalties of his two kids.
He said: “I am looking forward to going back to Pittodrie.
“It was home for me for eight years and my kids were born there. My son is still trying to work out what end he’s going to go in when we go up there.
“It will be great to go back, I still keep in touch with a lot of the boys and there has been a bit of banter already.
“When I went back to Motherwell with Aberdeen I scored against them and made sure I celebrated it the right way.
“I am a Motherwell boy born and bred so that was a strange one.
“So maybe when I go back to Pittodrie as a United player there will be a little bit of hatred for me because I’m causing problems!
“But I can’t speak highly enough about the club, it was a great eight years but the time was right to move on and do something new.”
United were 14 points clear of second-placed Inverness, who had a game in hand, when the season was brought to an end by the controversial SPFL ballot.
Reynolds hailed boss Robbie Neilson not only for guiding the Tannadice club back to the top flight but also for handling the weight of expectation on his shoulders.
The defender, who joined United on a permanent deal last summer after a four-month loan spell, said: “He is a very good manager, he is still young and he’s learning all the time.
“People will say that he took two teams who were favourites to go up but you still have to do it.
“Dundee United had been in the Championship for a few years when he arrived and there was still that expectation.
“He’s planned the whole thing perfectly and it worked out the way he thought it would.
“The gaffer went to MK Dons and that was a good move for him but it didn’t work out the way he wanted in the end.
“But he’s come back to United and really got going again. He’s got the club back on track and he’s boosted his own reputation as well.
“His attention to detail and the standards he sets are the big things, he’s very focused on what he wants.
“He brought me in to be his captain and I can’t speak highly enough of him. He is the kind of manager who listens to you and as a senior player you can talk to him. “
Reynolds says “changing the mood about the club” was pivotal in Neilson’s early days at United following his appointment in October 2018.
He added: “Before I arrived people thought they were the kind of team who would go on a good run then blow up.
“The fans really bought into what the manager has wanted to do and things have been really positive. From meeting them, they are looking forward now rather than looking back.
“The manager put those building blocks there for success and I think it’s a bit similar to Aberdeen when Derek McInnes came in.
“Craig Brown had steadied the ship after some not great years and he made some very good signings, guys like Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes.
“Then Derek came in and moved it on. I can’t see why Dundee United can’t do something similar and be successful.
“We have the right people in charge of the club, the owner [Mark Ogren] has backed the manager and he’s very keen to bring success to Tannadice.
“You get a feeling off people and any time I have spoken to him I get a good vibe.
“He is always interested in you, he asks about your family and he is genuinely interested in the people working at the club. That suggests to me he’s not just here to make a quick buck or to just be in the middle of something.
“I always get the feeling he wants to be part of this for the long-term, he wants to make the club the best it can be.
“I think the club is in safe hands with the people who are running the club, they have the best interests of the place at heart.”