I DON’T think Tam Courts could have asked for a better start to life as Dundee United boss.
Three wins from three, two clean sheets and all but through to the knockout stages of the League Cup – a competition in which United have struggled in recent years.
Goals are flowing and he’s also managed to give almost his entire squad game time.
Using the Premier Sports Cup group stage effectively as pre-season but also getting through is pretty much a perfect start.
Performances maybe haven’t been perfect but Courts will be hoping his team step it up a bit against East Fife tonight.
I’ve no doubt we’ll see a bit more of the squad rotation he’s utilised in the three games to date, though.
That means when the nitty gritty of the league campaign kicks off, Courts will have a nice big squad to choose from with everyone ready to play.
I’d expect when the league does start, he’ll be a bit more consistent with team selection, though.
You get away with a lot more against lower league opposition – the Premiership is a big step up.
And we’ve seen with even the best teams in the world that constantly changing personnel rarely brings consistent team performances.
Charlie Mulgrew impact
I was pleased to see the likes of Lewis Neilson and Chris Mochrie get their chance against Arbroath.
However, it was Charlie Mulgrew at the other end of the age scale who really showed their quality.
Obviously the former Scotland man grabbed the all-important goal against the Red Lichties at the weekend with a brilliant piece of skill.
That’s what Mulgrew will bring, though.
He got 44 caps for a reason and has real pedigree.
The only thing United have to hope for is he stays fit.
A fit Mulgrew could have a real impact on this season for United.
I saw Dick Campbell was unhappy to be leaving Tannadice with nothing and I can sympathise with him.
Arbroath played well in that second half and, as we’ve come to expect, put up a real fight.
Seeing that game out will have done United no harm at all either.
All three of these games were matches the Tangerines were expected to win.
They’ve done that, even if it wasn’t always convincing.
But, let’s not forget, Kelty Hearts and Arbroath particularly are good teams that will test any side, Premiership or not.
Saying that I do think United will have to improve for the start of the league campaign.
Hopefully, tonight at East Fife gives us a preview of things to come.
Courts has the perfect situation now – his team are pretty much qualified so he can experiment a fair bit, get minutes into players who need it and, hopefully, get another win.
It’s never going to be perfect straight away when a new head coach takes over.
Four wins from four before the league even starts will do, though.
Variety up top for Dundee boss James McPake
Dundee have added a bit of variety up front with Cillian Sheridan arriving.
I think it’s a really decent signing – he’s got a bit of stature, has played at a very good level and sounds keen to come back to Scotland.
The good thing is James McPake has really different options up front now.
You’ve got a finisher in Jason Cummings, a worker in Danny Mullen, bit of pace with Alex Jakubiak and now some power with Sheridan.
That’s really important, especially in attack.
You want your team to play a certain way but there will be times it just isn’t working and you need to change things.
These options give him a Plan B or maybe even C if he needs it.
Dundee’s squad looks in good shape. They’ve also added another goalkeeper and they look ready for the league to start right now.
They could maybe have done without the call-off on Sunday.
The Dark Blues made a really decent start to the season against Brora Rangers last week.
They seem to be scoring for fun and have now just added another striker!
They’ve just continued how they finished last season but I’m sure they would have liked a go at Ross County to see where they are sitting compared to other Premiership teams.
It wasn’t to be and I’ve no doubt they made the most of their weekend off.
Bigger crowds will make a huge difference
Step by step the crowds are slowly getting bigger and bigger.
Having 500 fans at matches recently has been more than welcome.
However, getting well into four figures will make a huge difference in terms of atmosphere at games.
That’s what we are expecting at Pittodrie and Celtic Park this week anyway.
The Dons are getting 5,655 in to face Hacken in Europe with the Hoops expecting 9,000 through the gates tonight for their Champions League qualifier.
Slow going but we are getting there.