The opponents for Dundee and United this weekend stir some interesting memories for me.
I vividly recall watching Dundee v Hibs at Dens in front of a huge crowd of 30,888 in the Scottish Cup quarter final replay there in 1974.
A generation of Dee supporters have grown up not knowing a time when their side could pull such huge gates for top games.
And I remember well my trip with BBC Scotland to cover United’s Scottish Cup opposition, Queen of the South, in their debut European season.
The Doonhamers narrowly lost 2-1 to Nordjaelland (4-2 agg) in the UEFA Cup in 2008.
They were managed then by Gordon Chisholm, a man who has managed both Dundee and United, and it was also good to renew acquaintances with the Danes’ boss that night, former Dens favourite Morten Wieghorst.
That 1974 Dundee side was a very fine one and they blew away an equally good Hibs team with three goals in 15 minutes.
With a quality striking duo of Jocky Scott and John Duncan leading the line against an Easter Road outfit featuring legends like Jimmy O’Rourke, Alex Cropley and Pat Stanton, it was an era when Dundee were a club very much in the same bracket as their Edinburgh rivals.
There’s been a much bigger gap in recent times, but Tony Docherty’s team, fresh from dismantling St Mirren 4-0, are entitled to feel confident that they have the ability to open a five-point gap over their visitors.
With a game in hand over Hibs, that would severely dent the Leith side’s prospects and boost the growing sense of positivity around an increasingly impressive dark blue side.
Some might think Tony Docherty’s side are punching above their weight, but a win v Hibs would be further evidence that Dundee are extremely comfortable duking it out in this division – and are definite contenders to stay the distance for a top half finish.
The current QOS side that Dundee United will face is nowhere near the quality of the team that qualified for Europe after losing 3-2 to Rangers in the 2008 Scottish Cup final.
United should progress even if Marvin Bartley’s team have been kept away from their PlayStations and X Boxes.
The Doonhamers boss ripped into his players publicly after discovering they’d been spending up to eight hours playing computer games ahead of matches.
The League One side have won just four of 14 matches and United have more than enough in their toolbox to dismantle them.
I had a United supporting tradesman in doing some work in midweek; he felt there had been an overreaction by some fans to their Challenge Cup defeat at Falkirk.
I share his view, but the 4-2 reverse proves what can happen if you don’t have all your top talent out and concentration levels slip.
I don’t see United repeating those mistakes at Palmerston.
If they’re fully focused and have their main men on the pitch they’ll book their fourth round berth.