It’s early days but teenager Jamie Robson is shaping up to join an illustrious list of top-class full-backs who’ve become firm favourites at Dundee United.
In six appearances to date, the 18-year-old has impressed.
He was handed his debut by Jackie McNamara as a struggling side faced Dunfermline in the League Cup last season.
The kid played his part over the 120 minutes as they won 3-1 in what was McNamara’s penultimate game in charge.
Although the arrival of Mixu Paatelainen saw him drop out of the first-team picture and go on loan to Brechin City to get top-team experience, that first outing confirmed the belief he would be another fine product of the youth policy.
This term he’s got his chance because regular left-back Paul Dixon had to have knee surgery.
There’s little doubt Dixon will take over again once he’s recovered but he’ll do so knowing he faces stiff competition.
Robson emphasised that on Saturday when he capped a solid showing with his first goal in the 3-0 win over Ayr.
As stated, he’s a long way to go before he can be considered one of the best United full-backs and tonight we look back at some of the greats he’s trying to emulate.
Jimmy Briggs: 1955-1970; appearances 401.
Briggs, a Dundonian, is fondly remembered by older Arabs for his uncompromising style and levels of consistency that made him first-choice left-back for over a decade.
Signed by Reggie Smith, Briggs would have made more appearances had his career not been interrupted by national service.
It was fitting his loyalty to the club was recognised by him being named the first member of United’s Hall of Fame in 2008.
Andy Rolland: 1967-1978; appearances 440.
Another member of the 400 club and also a Hall of Fame member.
The Galloping Major as he came to be known was signed from Cowdenbeath for £10,000 and his attacking style quickly made him a firm favourite and also led to him being used in more forward roles.
Rolland was in the team that reached the 1974 Scottish Cup Final only to go down to a strong Celtic side. He remained a regular for another four years before being released
Frank Kopel: 1972-1982; appearances 407.
Much loved by Arabs, Kopel had made a dozen appearances for Matt Busby’s Manchester United then had a spell with Blackburn before being signed on a free by Jim McLean in January 1972.
Over the next decade he defended the left side of the park and is remembered for his long-range volley that got the Tangerines through in a Uefa Cup clash with Anderlecht.
Kopel left Tannadice after just over a decade, though returned to add experience to a reserve team packed with emerging talent.
Frank died after a battle with dementia, but his name lives on as his family battle for legislation to secure better care for other sufferers.
Maurice Malpas: 1979-2000: 830 appearances.
The greatest player to fill one of the full-back slots, a fact that is reflected by both his appearances and a club record 55 Scotland caps.
Initially an average midfielder, “Mo’s” career took off when Jim McLean decided to try him at left-back, despite him being right footed.
It was a masterstroke. After extra training with coaches Walter Smith and Gordon Wallace, the young Fifer soon established himself as not just United’s first choice but also the best left-back in the country.
So much so, when Alex Ferguson moved from Aberdeen to Manchester United, he wanted to take Malpas to Old Trafford.
Maurice won the league with United and went on to captain them to their Scottish Cup success in 1994.