It is only a matter of days since Jordan McGhee signed for Dundee but he has already been left in no doubt exactly what will be at stake in this season’s derbies with near neighbours United.
The 22-year-old former Hearts defender was snapped up from Falkirk last week by Dens boss James McPake on a two-year deal.
McGhee suffered the pain of relegation with the Bairns last season but he has also experienced the polar opposite, securing promotion from the Championship when he was at Tynecastle, playing under current United boss Robbie Neilson.
During that time with the Jambos, he savoured the red-hot atmosphere of the Edinburgh derbies, including one game in 2013 when Hibs had a certain McPake sent off at Easter Road.
Now though McGhee has been warned by former Falkirk team-mate Paul Paton, who previously played for United, that the encounters between the two fierce Dundee rivals will also certainly not be for the faint-hearted this season.
However, he is determined that it will be the Dark Blues securing bragging rights and hopefully going straight back up to the Premiership.
The former Scotland Under-21 skipper said: “I had a good season with Hearts when we won the league which is something I will be aiming to do again this season.
“I know how Robbie likes to play and some of the boys who used to be at Hearts like Osman Sow.
“I have heard the derbies are massive and I am really looking forward to tasting them having already experienced the Edinburgh ones.
“They are obviously big but I have spoken to lads like Paul Paton who have played in Dundee ones and he told me how much it means to both sets of fans.
“So I can’t wait to experience them and hopefully on the winning side.”
McGhee added: “After I signed, my twitter was blowing up with all the Dundee fans just saying make sure you win the derbies.
“So I know already how much it means.
“But it didn’t make a difference to me coming here. As soon as I spoke to the gaffer I knew I wanted to come here.
“It is such an ambitious club and a big club. I can’t wait to get started and kick on.
“It is going to be a tough league but looking at the boys already we have more than enough to push to win the league.”
Falkirk boss Ray McKinnon fought tooth and nail to try to persuade McGhee – who he appointed as Bairns skipper last season – to stay at the club.
However, the player admitted the chance to come to Dundee was one he just could not turn down.
McGhee said: “The gaffer (McPake) phoned my agent about two weeks ago.
“Once I spoke to the gaffer, my mind was quickly made up that I wanted to come to Dundee.
“He was the captain here for a few years and with him being a great defender hopefully I can pick up things from him every day.
“The club are very ambitious. It is a big club in Scotland and should be in the Premiership.
“To be part of what should hopefully be a successful season was a big pull for me.
“I am just delighted to be here.”
After what happened at Falkirk last season, McGhee is relishing opening a new chapter in his career and while the pain of relegation remains, he is looking to use it to push him on this season.
McGhee added: “It was important for me to get a fresh start.
“Falkirk is a great club and I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me.
“I went there and played every game the last two seasons. They made me captain as well at a young age so it was a good learning curve for me.
“Hopefully I can take the negative experiences from last season and turn them into positive ones for this club.
“I loved my time at Falkirk but when a club of this size comes calling . . .
“It is the next step in my career to try to do well for a big club again on a bigger stage.
“I am looking forward to it.”
McGhee can play right across the backline but he admitted there was one position that he preferred.
He said: “I was brought up as a centre-half but then I played right-back for Hearts.
“I had to play centre-half again last season at Falkirk because things weren’t going too well but in the last few months I played right-back and managed to score four or five goals.
“I will play where the gaffer wants me to but right-back is more my natural position these days.”