AS DUNDEE United geared up for the new Premiership season, news rang out of the surprise departure of head coach Robbie Neilson who has since returned to Hearts. While Neilson’s exit came as a shock to the club and its fans, very few have showed any major regret at his decision to leave Tannadice and the club moved quickly to appoint a successor as players returned to training after lockdown. As usual, a host of familiar names were being branded around for the post including Tommy Wright, Billy McKinlay and Malky Mackay to name but a few.
United have, though, gone somewhat left-field on their choice bringing in the lesser known Micky Mellon from Tranmere Rovers. Mellon (above) who hails from Paisley spent many years as a player in the English leagues starting out at Bristol City when he was just 17. Since moving into management though he has an impressive CV with no fewer than five promotions to his credit. It was Mellon who took Fleetwood into the Football League and he’s also had success with Shrewsbury Town and Tranmere Rovers.
His appointment has been well-received and he seems to have fitted in quickly to the set- up at Tannadice. He has never managed in Scotland before but is fully aware of the club’s history and its need and desire to be playing top flight football. He has overseen some friendly games with fellow Premiership sides to date, running a keen eye over the squad. So far, a narrow 1-0 defeat to Motherwell a 0-0 draw with Livingston and a morale boosting 4-1 win over a youthful Rangers side have been the warm-ups prior to the league kicking off on Sat Aug 1, when United are due to take on their Tayside rivals St Johnstone at home.
United know the season ahead will be a tough one—as it usually is for a promoted side—and to date there have been no additions to the squad that lifted the Championship trophy. Pre-lockdown reports that star striker Lawrence Shankland was inevitably moving to pastures new have thankfully not came to fruition. The hitman who was United’s top scorer last season with 28 goals in 33 games is of course the club’s prize asset and Arabs everywhere will be hoping the club can fend off any potential buyers during the transfer window.