Robbie Neilson happy to focus on games as Ian Harkes joins Dundee United

Ian Harkes
Ian Harkes

Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson admits he is happy to turn his full focus back to team matters following the US takeover of the club.

The Tangerines introduced owner Mark Ogren to the press on Tuesday with new sporting director Tony Asghar also present at Tannadice.

Asghar will assist Robbie with the football department at the Terrors by identifying players long term, restructuring the academy and assisting with the first team how the gaffer sees fit.

Robbie insists, having worked under Craig Levein in a director of football role at Hearts and done it all himself at MK Dons, he prefers having his focus entirely on first-team matters.

“I’ve done both sides of it – I’ve done the director of football role and also straight in and you’re doing everything,” he said.

“One of the reasons I came here was because when I spoke to the previous owner Mike (Martin) he spoke about what the plans were for the club with new owners coming in and what the structure at the club was going to be. That was very appealing to me, there were lots of different reasons for coming here – the size of the club, the fans, the training ground but also the structure that was going to come into place because it makes your life a lot easier.

“You can just focus on the things that are most important which is the first team and, ultimately, that is winning on a Saturday. Tony’s role is to liaise between myself and the owner and also assist me as much as he can in the sporting director role.

“There’s a lot more stuff that I had to look at with MK Dons, I was overseeing the academy, trying to do plans for training grounds, looking at sites and speaking to architects about it.

“Loads of things that take your focus away from a Saturday and, ultimately, your Saturday is the most important thing at a football club because, if the team wins, everyone is happy, there are more sales, more confidence and more corporate hospitality comes in off the back of that.”

Meanwhile, ahead of their Scottish Cup fourth-round trip to Montrose, United have signed 23-year-old American midfielder Ian Harkes on a two-year deal after he was released by MLS club DC United.

Tangerines full-back Stewart Murdoch now looks unlikely to make the clash after coming off injured against Dunfermline.

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