It was disappointing to hear Dundee’s match at Ross County had to be called off on Sunday.
Player welfare comes first, of course, but I was looking forward to seeing how the Dark Blues would get on against top-flight opposition.
The feeling around Dens Park right now is one of bullish confidence, you can feel it.
The manager, his staff, the players, I’d bet they were all desperate to get at the Staggies and show what they’ve got.
That’s one thing I’ve noticed in pre-season – Dundee have stepped up their pressing game.
Particularly when Alex Jakubiak is playing up top, they don’t give teams any time on the ball.
And that has brought goals.
So I was interested to see if James McPake would play that way against Ross County.
The danger you have when putting on the high press against good opposition is they play through you and expose the backline.
Whichever way they went about things, I fancied Dundee to come away with victory.
And that would have laid down a bit of a mental marker for the league campaign ahead.
Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Don’t get me wrong, this writer wasn’t too unhappy when the usual 11-hour working day for a trip to the Highlands was called off.
The A9 is rarely a fun journey but I never like to miss out on a football match, especially in that kind of circumstance.
Dundee, though, made the most of a free weekend and played a full match between themselves, home and away shirts, referees and everything.
This isn’t the first time they’ve been in this situation either.
At the start of last season, it was Forfar who were unable to fulfil their opening League Cup fixture.
Dundee had a free week, then took on Brora Rangers in the Highlands.
It’s fair to say it affected the Dark Blues last year.
Dundee took on Dundee this morning at Riverside.
The match ended 3-3 with a Trialist, Alex Jakubiak, Luke McCowan x2, Lee Ashcroft and Jason Cummings on the scoresheet.
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) July 17, 2021
On the back of six months without football and just a couple of warm-up matches, Dundee were well off the pace against Hearts on the opening day of the Championship season.
The scoreline showed that and the Jambos were pretty much uncatchable from then on. It feels like an age ago now that, though, and the Dens squad have come a long, long way.
It was a harsh lesson for McPake and his Dundee side.
We’ve seen him learn on the job over the past couple of years and heads into the Premiership with real assurance as a manager.
And I will be very surprised if they let a game being called off affect them in any way.
It is a different situation this time, of course. Matches against Montrose and Forfar are still to come before the league kicks off.
Those two will be tough tests but also games I’d expect Dundee to pick up wins in.
That’s the task now – keep the results rolling in so they can hit the ground running in the Premiership.
A game less won’t affect them the way it did last year – lessons get learned at Dens these days.
Savvy move to tie down talented Logan Chalmers
Dundee United are wasting no time in trying to tie down their top talent to new contracts.
The big one for me is Logan Chalmers, though.
Shankland I expect will leave at some point, whether this season or in a year.
But homegrown talent like Chalmers is the type you definitely want to keep long-term.
The beauty of it is we are yet to see exactly what the young lad can bring to the Tangerines.
He’s one I’ve been keeping an eye out for ever since seeing him in training under Csaba Laszlo a few years back.
You could see then there was real talent.
And he showed glimpses of it at the start of last season.
Injury obviously set him back.
More importantly I think it set United back.
Anyone could see Micky Mellon’s side had the talent up front and a decent defence/midfield.
What they lacked was the link between midfield and attack, a creative midfielder.
That’s exactly where Chalmers does his best stuff.
Speedy and tricky, he’s a man to create chances.
Now he’s committed his future to the club, hopefully we see a real talent emerge at Tannadice this term.
He’ll get his chance under Tam Courts, it’s up to the player to take it.
No European dismay for Scottish clubs – yet!
I always enjoy this time of year – all Scottish clubs are still in Europe!
Barely anyone has played yet so we’ve had no disappointments.
Probably as good as it’s going to get, knowing our recent history on the Continent.
I do hope this season is different and we see an improvement from clubs outwith the Glasgow two.
St Johnstone will have a tough one but what a draw they’ve landed. Aberdeen may find it tough against Scandinavian opposition.
Hibs, though, should be getting through their tie.