Dundee United manager Micky Mellon grew up watching Scottish Cup finals on TV but this will be his first real taste of the nation’s premier knockout tournament.
Having spent his playing days and, until recently, all his time managing in England, Mellon can’t wait to sample at close quarters the famous old competition in his homeland.
The Tangerines welcome League One side Partick Thistle to Tannadice on Saturday for their third round clash and Mellon can’t wait to get started.
“Like it should be for any football fan, for me it’s a fantastic cup competition with great history and great games all through the years,” he said.
“It used to be on the same day as the FA Cup final and you could switch from one to the other on TV.
“I’ve got great memories of it from when I was very, very young.
“I never played in it, never managed in it so it’s a first for myself.
“It is safe to say that I’m looking forward to it.
“I genuinely am school boy excited about it.”
Mellon has his fair share of cherished cup memories, albeit from south of the border.
He said: “Getting to the quarter-finals when I was with Barnsley (in 2013) is up there.
“We got beat by Manchester City but that was some occasion.
“I think I played in quarter-finals a few times.
“We had loads of great experiences against some great managers and teams over the years.
“Now we’re looking forward to hopefully creating some great memories in the Scottish Cup.”
It was suggested to Mellon that maybe a difference between managing in England compared to Scotland is that teams other than the big guns can win a trophy here, as shown by St Johnstone in the Betfred.
He replied: “There are all sort of clubs that have won the FA Cup but, you are right, it is difficult for to compete with some monsters of football clubs that are down there.
“We’ve got our own share of them as well up here.
“To win any cup competition is a fantastic thing to do but we have got a really tough game at the weekend. We’re looking forward to the challenge of that now.”
The Tangerines were in the same Betfred Cup group as Saints earlier this season and then had to look on with envy as the Perth men went on to lift the silverware.
Did that make Mellon ponder what might have been?
He said: “Nah. Of course it’s easy to look at it like that but St Johnstone did well after the group stage and got some good results.
“We know we let ourselves down in the Peterhead game in that competition.
“We found out a lot about ourselves in those games. There was a lot of stuff I didn’t like that day but we have grown since then.
“The Thistle game is the next challenge for us now in a brilliant competition. I’m looking forward to the game and looking forward to the challenge of trying and getting a result.”
United go into the match in decent shape, despite the disappointment of missing out on a top-six spot.
“We are moving forward well,” added the Tannadice gaffer.
“We are on our way now with the way we want to play – a fair way down the road now.
“When I look at my team and know what they’re trying to do with the ball, I know we’re getting somewhere.
“We are in a good place but you have to keep on pushing and keeping after that attitude and mentality. That’s important to keep things moving forward.”
Of course, the two clubs found themselves on the opposite ends of a legal battle in the summer, as Partick joined Hearts in an action that, had it been successful, would have stopped Mellon’s men going up.
There don’t seem to be any hard feelings, though, particularly as Mellon arrived on the scene after the case had been found his his new team’s favour.
He said: “That was just before I came in.
“It ended as I was here.
“I never took part any part in it as it was never part of my remit.
“It was dealt with in a courtroom and I was just concentrating on the football.
“We just kept moving forward. It didn’t really affect anything I did.
“It wasn’t a distraction. We just got on with things.
“It was a team with a new manager so we had lots to organise like building new relationships and preparing for moving up a level.
“I just got prepared as if that was going to happen and it did happen.”
United’s selection options could be impacted by the patter of tiny feet, as Mellon revealed.
He said: “There are a couple of pregnancies that are coming to fruition so we’ll hopefully have some news on that in the next few hours.
“But they – the dads not the babies – should be available for the weekend.
“For example, Jamie Robson is currently mopping the brow of his wife – pretending he’s doing something to help.
“As a dad of five, I say that with experience …
“Hopefully, we will get great news on that soon.”