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RAB DOUGLAS: Dundee’s return to the big-time has touched the hearts of so many people at the club

Dundee clinched promotion to the Scottish Premiership after kicking off their pre-season at Montrose
Dundee clinched promotion to the Scottish Premiership after kicking off their pre-season at Montrose

Dundee will always be a club close to my heart.

I was there for eight years over two spells, played over 300 games and went through what felt like 26 or 27 managers in that time.

I was married at Dens Park, I live locally and my daughter is a season-ticket holder. Dundee launched my full-time career.

Dundee will always be special to me. That’s why I am delighted to see them back where they belong – the Scottish Premiership.

Dundee players celebrate their play-off success

I’m absolutely delighted for Dundee. There are so many people I’m happy for.

There’s Charlie Adam, someone who has played Champions League football for a big club like Liverpool, but came up the road to try his heart out to get the club he supported as a boy back up.

He has an incredibly tough year off the park so I’m delighted he has had success on it.

Then there’s Cammy Kerr, my boot boy at Dundee, who has been through the mill with the club over the last nine years with relegation and promotion but has stuck by the club he loves.

But what about the people behind the scenes who have devoted their lives to Dundee?

Cammy Kerr has stuck by his boyhood heroes to lead them to promotion

Brian, Lorraine, Ally, Neil and the rest – you all know who you are. Trust me, the club wouldn’t run without you.

You also have to take your hat off to James McPake for the incredible job he has done as manager.

People have doubted him this season and questioned whether he’d succeed.

Honest mistakes

He has made mistakes but he has also been incredibly honest. It’s the mark of a very good manager who is willing to make mistakes and learn from them.

I work with possibly the most-experienced manager in British football in Dick Campbell and even he, at 67, would admit to making mistakes and look at ways to do things better.

James has done an incredible job at Dundee and the board have shown faith in him. His recruitment has been absolutely fantastic.

James McPake has made some key signings such as Charlie Adam

Signing Charlie was a masterstroke but don’t forget about the likes of Lee Ashcroft who has made such a big difference with his aerial threat in both penalty boxes.

Dundee have goalscorers all over the park and they absolutely bossed the Premiership play-offs.

When it mattered most, at the business end of the season, James delivered the goods as manager of Dundee.

They were the better team in both games against Kilmarnock and are back where they belong.

Next season is going to be a really exciting one for Dundee and I only hope they can get fans back in big numbers to see them play.

St Johnstone’s historic season

Fans are also the the only thing missing from St Johnstone’s historic season.

What they have achieved this year under Callum Davidson’s command is nothing short of incredible.

I grew up supporting Motherwell and I can remember how excited I was to see them winning the Scottish Cup in 1991.

To go on and win not just one but two major honours in one season, as a provincial club, it utterly amazing.

St Johnstone's Jason Kerr lifts the trophy after the final whistle during the Scottish Cup final match at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Picture date: Saturday May 22, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Final. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
St Johnstone have created history with their double cup success

When was the last time St Johnstone won the double? Never.

When was the last time any club outside of Celtic or Rangers did it? Aberdeen in 1990.

The fact it has been over 30 years since this happened underlines the magnitude of the achievement and I’m sure, when things improve, St Johnstone will find a way to repay their fans with a trophy parade in Perth.

Dundee United’s managerial moves

Micky Mellon lasted just ten months at Dundee United

It hasn’t been a quiet week across Tayside, has it?

The departure of Micky Mellon may have surprised some – especially as he did a decent job in keeping Dundee United safe – but the writing has been on the wall for his departure.

The interesting thing will be what happens next for United.

Who will they bring in? There seems to be a lot of talk that they will go down the route of appointing from within and focusing heavily on their youth system.

That can work. Often young players can make a real instant impact on your team.

Logan Chalmers is part of a talented crop of young players at Dundee United

The question is can they do it consistently over the course of 38 games?

The derbies are back and Hearts are in the top flight again. If we can get crowds back then chairmen will be thrilled that two of the bigger clubs are in the Premiership again but it will be another big challenge for United on the park.

There’s no doubt they have talented players at their club and I’m delighted to see a young lad we had on loan at Arbroath – Logan Chalmers – making the Scotland under-21 squad but the next appointment is crucial.

Ben Williamson’s international call-up

Ben Williamson has forced his way into the Scotland under-21 squad

I’m thrilled to see Ben Williamson making it into the Scotland under-21 squad. He’s an immensely talented young man.

He’s a tenacious midfielder and someone who always wants to listen, learn and improve. He showed up really well at Arbroath this year.

If you need an example of how well the loan system can work then this is it.

Ben helped us stay up and he’s furthered his own career to go back to Rangers and get into the international set-up. Watch him go.