Scores of Dundee United fans turned up to see the unveiling of a bronze statue honouring local legend Jim McLean on Saturday evening.
A private ceremony was held earlier in the evening for family, close friends, board members and players from McLean’s 1983 league-winning team.
After the ceremony, fans were welcomed to the top of the ramp outside of the Eddie Thompson stand at Tannadice Park for pictures with the brand new sculpture.
Some fans even travelled across the country to get a glimpse of the tribute.
David Meldrum travelled more than 90 miles from East Kilbride to see the statue over the weekend.
“I’d seen some pictures online before and it looked very impressive, and I would say it is very impressive in person,” he said.
“I’ve driven 90 miles to be here. I’m not local – but Jim McLean got me interested in football. It’s brought me a lot of joy.”
‘Blown away by the quality of football’
David attended his first Dundee United match over 40 years ago.
He said: “I was living in East Kilbride at the time and I came up to watch a game and I was blown away by the quality of football.
“Just the way they knocked the ball about, it was amazing. That would be 1980 or 81.”
He was the first member of the public to get a picture with the tribute to Jim McLean.
“I wanted to turn up and pay my respects,” he added.
David was joined by local Dundee United fans who also turned up early to see the new Jim McLean statue.
Local fan Michael Barile brought family and friends along to greet the statue.
“The statue’s phenomenal, I’m really impressed,” said Michael.
“I think the guy Alan Heriot has done a remarkable job, and it’s all done with the specifications that the family wanted as well, right down to the wedding ring on his finger.
“It’s really like him when he was that age.
“The big tragedy is that it wasn’t put up there last year when he was still alive.
“I know that Alan, the sculptor, sent Doris a DVD of it to show Jim, so Jim saw it. But he never saw the real thing.
‘It’s what the family wanted’
“I think they’re going to shine a spotlight down on it at night in the dark, so that when you’re anywhere in the vicinity, it’ll be lit up.
“It’s going to be a hot spot, like the V&A or the McManus building.”
The statue shows the late McLean celebrating with the Premier Division trophy that he won with the club in 1983 – the only time in the Tangerines’ history that they have finished at the summit of Scotland’s top league.
Friends Leann Crichton and Frank Harley came to see the statue together with their respective children and grandchildren.
“I think it’s absolutely stunning,” said Leann.
“It’s absolutely fantastic, it really is true to form. It just gets the hairs on the back of your neck, and I think doing it before a derby is a just a real tribute to the man.
“I’m hoping it brings luck tomorrow, it would just be a fitting tribute.
‘A place to remember the man’
“I feel that, because of Covid, he really didn’t get the send off that fans wanted to give him.
“So this will allow us to have some place to remember the man, and he’s always going to be watching and looking down on us.”
Other fans found that the statue brought back warm memories of working at the stadium.
“I’ve got a long history here,” said Frank Harley.
“I used to be a groundsman at one point with Dundee United.
“My wife’s father used to drive for Dundee United as well, back when they were travelling across Europe in the 80s.”
‘A great man’
Frank was impressed by the statue, which was designed and created by Edinburgh-based sculptor Alan Heriot.
“It’s a fantastic thing for a great man,” said Frank.
“To think what he did for this small club in Dundee and how far he took them and the amount of people all over Europe that know a wee club like Dundee United because of him.
“A great man and it’s a beautiful statue, it’s really well done.”
Dundee United fan Graham Byrne was keen to get a glimpse of the statue, after attending Jim’s games as a child.
“That’s the guy that got me into United,” said Graham.
“The statue’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I’m from Dundee and I’ve been a fan of Dundee United all my life.
“I saw them win their first piece of silver in the 70s. I was right on the pitch after it!
“Great memories, and coming to Tannadice every week was just magic.”
A total of £62,000 was raised to pay for the monument by a steering group and Dundee United Community Trust, including donations from hundreds of supporters from across the globe.
There will be a further chance to see it from 9am on Sunday – just before Dundee United take on Dundee in their first derby of the season.