Dundee didn’t want to be going into the first derby of the season still searching for their first league win.
However, here they are with just three draws to their name from the opening five games ahead of the shortest of trips to Tannadice.
There shouldn’t be too much concern, though.
The wins may not have come but the performances have certainly been there – the last two displays were good enough to earn victories in both games.
They also have Scotland’s best finisher in their ranks, too.
And I wouldn’t bet against Leigh Griffiths opening his second Dark Blues account with a goal this weekend.
Biggest seven days in years
All eyes are on the derby – and rightly so – but look just a little further and it is a huge seven days for Dundee.
Aside from the play-off final it’s the biggest seven days the club has faced in years, certainly during my time in the city.
A huge derby where a win would set up their season while defeat will ramp up the pressure.
Then there’s a chance to reach a first League Cup semi-final since Nacho Novo was top scorer.
St Johnstone at home will be tough but the belief should be there for the Dark Blues.
Then there’s the visit of champions Rangers to Dens Park the following weekend.
Steven Gerrard’s side may not be brushing every opponent aside like they were last season but it doesn’t get much tougher.
That goes for the whole week – three colossal matches.
Massive rewards, though, come with games of that stature and that’s where Dundee should be focusing their minds.
Just think Dark Blues, you could be stuck in the Championship thinking about a trip to Dumfries followed by a home tie against Morton.
No disrespect to those sides or the second tier but the atmosphere in the upcoming trio of matches will be electric.
Almost a sell-out at Tannadice on Sunday with just under 3,000 away fans – I just can’t wait for the first derby in 20 months.
After enduring the pandemic with no fans in the stands, we’re seeing once more what Scottish football is all about.
And I’ve no doubt Sunday’s match at Dundee United will show the best of football in this city.
Let’s just have more goals than the Edinburgh derby, please.
With the striking firepower on the pitch, surely that won’t be a problem.
That’s where Dundee have the advantage – on paper anyway.
With players like Griffiths and Jason Cummings with, hopefully, Paul McMullan fit enough to lay on the chances combined with the set-piece threat of Lee Ashcroft, there are goals in the Dark Blues’ squad.
The big problem has been putting the ball in the back of the net, evidently.
That’s where the game will be won or lost.
Can Dundee find the finishing they crave?
Or will Dundee United show them how to do it?
Home crowd roared United to Rangers victory – they can do it again on Sunday
Ten points from their opening six matches would be a very tidy start to life as Dundee United manager for Tam Courts.
A victory on Sunday against oldest rivals Dundee would make it a decent beginning to the season indeed.
With home advantage and a ravenous crowd yelling them on, the Tangerines will stride out on Sunday with confidence.
That belief comes from the win over Rangers at the start of the season.
A win Charlie Mulgrew said unified the entire club, players, management and fans.
And this game on Sunday could be a real test of that unity, particularly if Dundee take the lead.
With the quality of strikers at their disposal that is a distinct possibility.
What United have shown better than a lot of teams since they returned to the Premiership is an ability to defend well and grind out results, though.
That’s an enviable trait to have in your squad.
And it wouldn’t surprise me to see that come to the fore throughout Sunday’s derby.
That mindset is only helped by a vociferous support spurring the players on.
And the home crowd will have a huge part to play for the Tangerines.
Just like they did in that win over Rangers.
The home crowd helped United over the line that day, more of the same will be needed this Sunday.
Applaud the approach from city clubs to improve Scottish football
I absolutely welcome the statement from Dundee, Dundee United, the two Edinburgh clubs and Aberdeen yesterday.
Noticeable by their absence were the two Old Firm clubs.
Too long have clubs in this country allowed Rangers and Celtic to dictate how our game is run, often to ensure they stay at the top.
Obviously they are the biggest clubs and have the bigger fanbases but that doesn’t mean other clubs in the country shouldn’t try to compete with them.
Hopefully, this is a signal of change across Scottish football to benefit everyone.