So far, so good for Micky Mellon – in fact, Dundee United’s start to the Premiership season has been better than good, it’s been excellent.
Seven points from four games, two away wins and sitting equal third is a tremendous start to the campaign.
It’ll be a whole different test next weekend, however, with a well-rested Celtic coming to Tannadice.
With the way things have gone on the return to the top flight, though, Mellon’s United head into that game with the champions in a good place.
Make no mistake, any points coming out of Saturday will be a bonus.
But, with seven points already on the board, it’s not like United are scrambling around for anything.
The new manager has them ticking along very nicely.
And I’ve been hugely encouraged by the way the young lads have taken to first-team Premiership football.
One I’m really pleased to see doing well is defender Lewis Neilson, someone I know well from my time coaching the youth teams at Tannadice.
He did well again, coming off the bench this time, and it’s great to see youngsters get their chance.
I was even happier to see Mellon say there were even more young players ready to be unleashed.
That’s no surprise with the age group that’s coming through.
Logan Chalmers did well again up in Dingwall, playing a big part in the winning goal while Louis Appere and Kieran Freeman have also done their bit.
That sort of thing is exactly what an academy is for. Supplementing the first team with talented players and saving the club money in the process – ideally making money by selling on later.
At United they’ve made a lot of changes to their youth setup in recent years but it shouldn’t be forgotten these players coming through now were already in the system.
I worked under Brian Grant at Tannadice when I was coaching and Brian deserves a lot of credit for the work put in over the years. The players coming through now says a lot about the job he did.
I’m not surprised to see Chalmers in the team either, he’s always had potential and its been good to see him get a chance.
And there are probably another five players in that age group at least who can step up.
Boys like Nathan Cooney, Chris Mochrie and Kai Fotheringham will all be chapping at the first-team door.
And blooding them with no fans in the stands is probably the best possible environment in which to do so, too.
This weekend they may not add to the points tally but it won’t affect the air of positivity around Tannadice.
HEARTS aren’t very happy they’ve had to stop their pre-season training early.
From a Dundee point of view, anything making the Jambos upset should be music to the ears of all associated with the Dark Blues.
Changes to the rules on Covid-19 thanks to the breaches from Aberdeen and Celtic have seen Robbie Neilson’s early return to the training field halted.
I expect the Gorgie side to be strong next season and will be favourites for many next season.
And that early start to pre-season would have been an advantage, especially with a new manager coming in.
Robbie will have been very keen to get working with his new squad as soon as possible.
A bit of disruption to that will be welcome to Dundee, though.
It sounds like James McPake’s men are still a couple of weeks away from a return. I’d expect most other Championship teams will be in the same boat.
It’ll be a tight race next season so make the most of any little advantage you can.
WATCHING some of the defending from the best teams in the world over the past few days has had me tearing my hair out.
Barcelona getting smashed 8-2 was incredible but then there was Man City and Man U gifting up goals to Lyon and Sevilla respectively.
Some of the defensive work was woeful. But defending has changed these days at the elite level, it’s all about the press and turning full-backs into midfielders.
RANGERS will be gutted not to have taken their chance to get a leg up on Celtic.
It’s good, though, to see teams like Kilmarnock and Livingston taking points off the Old Firm.
It makes the title race much more exciting to watch.