Brora Rangers is starting to become something of a tradition for Dundee these days.
Two seasons on the trot the Dark Blues have been pitted against the Highland League champions for their first match of a new season.
Considering before last October’s meeting up North, the clubs had only ever met once before it is a little odd.
I quite enjoyed the long, long trip to Brora last year, it was a beautiful part of the country I’d never seen before.
Though, that may have had more to do with it being the first match in seven months due to the pandemic.
This year I can only say thank God it’s at Dens Park.
Ross County away feels like a little jaunt in comparison.
That all-Premiership affair is for afters, though.
Expecting huge difference in Dee
First up is Brora and Dundee will be expecting to keep the momentum of their promotion going.
The Dark Blues won up at Dudgeon Park with goals from Danny Mullen and Graham Dorrans.
There may only be three players in the starting XI last time who have left but I expect a huge difference between the two games.
And I mean vast.
That’s the most interesting thing for me before next week’s League Cup kick-off – comparing what Dundee were then to what they are now.
That day up north was Charlie Adam’s competitive debut for Dundee, and he didn’t disappoint with a wonderful pass setting up the second goal.
— SPFL (@spfl) October 12, 2020
Young Max Anderson impressed on his debut, too, that day.
And they were decent considering all the Covid preamble to the game for months before.
But then their next game was THAT one at Tynecastle.
It’s so long ago now, I won’t remind any Dees of the scoreline.
Can Dundee keep momentum going?
There was a huge amount of work still to be done to get Dundee anywhere near capable of winning promotion.
Credit to James McPake and his staff, they got the team there.
And then the players took off on a great run at the perfect time.
Now they can continue that into the new season.
Jordan McGhee will be seen first and foremost as a midfielder – I wonder how far they can stretch the stat that’s seen Dundee unbeaten with him in midfield.
Currently it is 12 matches (the loss to Raith in the play-offs saw him used in defence).
With Ross County, Montrose and Forfar to come after Brora, there’s no reason that can’t continue into the league season proper.
And possibly beyond.
This week Paul McMullan said he felt Dundee could surprise a few teams in the Premiership this season.
The quality is there but more importantly the confidence is flowing.
A positive performance against West Ham on Friday will only help that.
Beyond that, a good start in the League Cup will set them up for the season proper.
Watch out Premiership, Dundee are coming.
Familiar setting for Tam Courts’ bow as Dundee United boss
Dundee United kicking off their season on the telly against League Two Kelty Hearts in the Premier Sports Cup.
It’s not really the dream of many Arabs I wouldn’t imagine.
For Tam Courts, though, it must be.
His first match in charge of a Premiership club taking on the team he was manager of for five years.
I can only imagine the wry grin on his face when he saw the draw come out.
It’s not absolutely essential but always very nice to start life off in a new job with a good result.
For me, it’s more the performance that counts on Friday night.
The Tangerines see Courts’ appointment as a long-term commitment and won’t be worried by any teething problems that may crop up.
But saying fans were underwhelmed at the appointment would be understating things just a bit.
There will be support from the stands but a fair bit of scepticism, too.
That’s understandable when an unknown quantity takes over.
The Tannadice boss won’t be daft enough to think that won’t be a problem.
But getting off to a good start will certainly be welcome.
It’s a big moment for Courts.
I wrote last week at my concern over the lack of pre-season matches, I truly hope they prove me wrong on Friday.
No luck but bad luck so far with Euro picks – England next?
So far in these European Championships I have backed Portugal, then Germany, then Belgium and then the Czech Republic.
Not going great is it?
The Portuguese couldn’t figure out how to get their good players going, Germany had nothing up front, the Belgians’ backline proved too creaky and the Czechs forgot how to defend.
Usually with that sort of luck I’d give up backing anyone else.
I mean I wouldn’t want to give any other side the kiss of death.
But I figure I’ll back England – let’s see what happens with that. . .