Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson has revealed he’s a big admirer of the job Ian McCall has done at this weekend’s opponents Ayr United.
And given the same timescale, he aims to do similar work at Tannadice – on a larger scale.
Despite losing a string of players in the summer, including star man Lawrence Shankland and Liam Smith to United, McCall has steered the Honest Men to three wins in their opening four Championship outings.
That’s put them second in the table, three points behind the Tangerines. That early-season success, however, has come as no surprise to Robbie.
“I know Ian, I meet him now and again because he stays near me. I know what he’s been through, it’s the nature of being at most clubs in the Championship,” he said.
“Most of the players are on one-year deals. We’ve managed to get a few of them on two and three-year deals and that gives you stability. Others don’t have the finances to make mistakes (with signings) so only hand out one-year contracts.
“Sometimes you make mistakes and it’s good they are only on a year but the ones who do really well, they move on and it’s part and parcel of things.
“But Ian did well last year and he’s done a really good job again at the start of the season.
“Ian’s really good at getting a team spirit. He gets them working for each other and they get good energy in their team. They’ll be a force this year.”
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On top of that, Robbie admires the way the man who had a troubled spell at Tannadice more than a decade ago has resurrected his managerial career.
He added: “As all managers know, we go up and down. We have good periods, then we have difficult periods.
“I’ve had that as well and it’s about resilience. Ian’s had that and he’s shown it. He’s gone to a club and shown what capabilities he’s got.
“He’s built something at Ayr and it’s like anything, it’s about getting time.
“If you get three or four years, you get the chance to build something and get stability.
“The problem in the game now is that you are getting two or three months. Ian’s managed to get time down there and, hopefully, I get that here because it gives you the chance to make a football club.”