For Dundee United, it could well be a case of beware the old boys as they face Partick Thistle on the resumption of Championship business this weekend.
After a sticky start to their campaign, the past couple of weeks have seen the Jags show signs they can live up to the pre-season expectation they’d be right in the mix when it comes to the promotion race in the second tier.
Although they qualified from their group in the Betfred Cup, a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Ayr United in the final tie of that stage had to be a worry for boss Alan Archibald.
Things did not get any better a week later when the opening Championship game saw the same opposition come out on top by the same score, though this time down at Somerset Park.
There was significant improvement as their second league outing produced a win over Falkirk and a level of performance in line with what Jags fans had been expecting.
While Thistle eventually lost 3-1 as they hosted holders Celtic in the last 16 of the Betfred on Saturday, the consensus was they gave a good account of themselves.
Indeed, for a brief time in the second half, a shock looked on the cards as they recovered from the loss of a Leigh Griffiths goal to level through Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo with just 17 minutes left.
It wasn’t to be and, as the champions immediately stepped up a gear, two quick goals secured their passage to the quarter-finals.
Even so, this weekend’s visitors finished the game with their pride intact and having done enough to suggest United will have to repeat their form at Queen of the South last time out if they are to make it two wins in a row.
To take the points they are likely to have to get the better of three faces familiar to Arabs – Cammy Bell, Blair Spittal and Chris Erskine.
In a difficult summer in the transfer market following relegation, one success for Archibald looks to have been securing the services of goalie Bell.
Two years ago he was a major capture for then-United boss Ray McKinnon and, although that campaign ended in play-off final heartache, getting so close was, in no small part, down to Bell.
Back in the Championship after brief, and largely idle, spells with Kilmarnock and Hibs following his departure from United a year ago, the 31-year-old is already shaping up to be one of the best keepers in the division once again. Ahead of him, in Spittal, United fans will be getting a glimpse of a player whose time at their club was a case of what might have been.
Jackie McNamara originally tried to get him at the same time as he was snapping up Queen’s Park team-mate Andy Robertson back in 2013. Spittal decided another year of regular first-team football at Queen’s would serve his career better and his move to Tannadice was delayed for 12 months. When he did join up he showed why, at least as a kid, he’d been bracketed in the same class as Robertson. However, in three years at United, he never quite stepped up enough to claim an automatic place.
He returns on Saturday a more experienced performer and a delivery from dead-ball situations that saw him score several spectacular free-kicks for United, will be something Csaba Laszlo’s players will have to be on their guard against. Completing the trio of old boys to be faced is likely to be Chris Erskine. Although he only came on as a sub against Celtic, the man who is a hero to Jags fans is expected to return to the starting line-up.
Another McNamara signing, Erskine never quite made the grade, but he is a different player in a Thistle strip and would like nothing better than to show home fans on Saturday what he’s capable of.