Dundee United captain Mark Reynolds says he knew Robbie Neilson would leave if Hearts came calling after his ex-boss wanted MAROON in the Tangerines’ away strip.
Neilson returned to the Tynecastle hot seat this summer just two months on from United’s Championship title triumph.
And Tannadice skipper Reynolds – who is still on good terms with his former manager – has revealed a hilarious exchange that saw the 40-year-old ask for Jambos colours in the Terrors’ second kit.
He told the Football Daft podcast: “He’s a great guy, I got on well with him. Hearts were always his team.
“We had a meeting to do with the new strips and three of the players were there, the manager, the director of football (Tony Asghar) and a couple of the commercial guys.
“The colour of the away strip is purple and we were speaking about changing the colour.
“Robbie kept saying, ‘I think it just needs a bit more maroon in it’.
“We’re like, ‘What? We’ve never had a strip with maroon in it!’
“He’s like, ‘No, I mean tangerine. I like the purple but a wee bit more tangerine…’
“Two minutes later he’s like, ‘I like where it’s going but could we put maroon in it?’
“And we’re like, ‘It’s never going to be maroon!’
“I knew from that point on that if Hearts came in for him, he was going.
Listen to Dundee United captain Mark Reynolds’ interview from 51 minutes:
“That’s just his team and you knew it was his team. It would’ve taken a massive club in England for him to go (and leave Dundee United).
“He was 100 per cent buying into what we were doing at United but Hearts came calling and that was him.
“He kind of said as much. If we see him again he’ll be fine and tell his players to smash us like he used to do with us when he was the gaffer!”
In 2012, then-Dundee United boss Peter Houston apologised to Hibs supporters for allowing ex-Hearts star Rudi Skacel to wear the No51 shirt – a swipe at the Easter Road side over their 5-1 Scottish Cup Final humiliation at the hands of their Edinburgh rivals.