Tonight at Tannadice will be Jamie Ness’s first taste of the Dundee derby.
There will be 13,400 fans packed inside the ground with the game also being shown live on BT Sport.
The match will certainly not be for the faint-hearted but the occasion and electric atmosphere is unlikely to faze 28-year-old midfielder Ness who signed for the Dark Blues this summer.
He was just 19 when he was handed his starting Rangers debut against bitter rivals Celtic at Parkhead in 2011 with Light Blues boss Walter Smith giving him no prior warning that he was to be thrown in at the deep end.
Rangers may have lost that game but Ness admitted he still relished everything about the day and he is now hoping to enjoy a similar feeling – but on the winning side – after the derby with United.
Ness recalled: “I literally found out two hours before the Celtic game that I was playing.
“Walter Smith was the manager at the time and he just put the team up on the board and that was it.
“My name was up there and I didn’t really know how to react but then we just got on the bus.
“My family were coming up for the game but I didn’t even tell them I was playing. They found out through the radio that I was starting.
“They were a lot more nervous than I was.
“We lost the game with Georgios Samaras scoring two but I loved the whole experience.
“I loved the game, the atmosphere, everything about it so I really enjoy playing in these derby games.
“The Old Firm ones were the biggest I played in and hopefully I will be able to take that experience into Friday.”
Ness will almost certainly start against United in a midfield that should include 16-year-old Finlay Robertson.
The teenager has quickly established himself in James McPake’s starting line-up this season and has been rewarded for his eye-catching performances with a call-up to the Scotland Under-19 squad next week.
And Ness is certain that the young Dundonian will take everything in his stride if he plays against United.
Ness added: “I have been massively impressed with him and a few of the other young lads here as well at the club.
“Fin has come in, played every game and has been brilliant.
“He is only 16 as well and it is a lot for him but at the moment he is in a great run of form.
“It will be up to the gaffer and the club to manage him but I think he is going to be a really good player in the future.
“When you are that young it takes a lot out of you playing week in, week out in the first team.
“But hopefully he can keep this run going and he has the Scotland Under-19 call-up as well which will be brilliant for him.
“But as I said, there are a few other young lads that I have been really impressed with so I think the future is definitely very bright at the club.
“Most of the young lads have adapted really well to being around the first team.
“I don’t think it has fazed any of them and I think it will be the same on Friday night whoever is playing.”
As well as Rangers, Ness has played for several other clubs including the likes of Stoke, Crewe, Scunthorpe and Plymouth.
He played in a few “derbies” down south although he admitted that unlike the Dundee one, there was no chance of walking to the opposition’s ground on game day.
He said: “I have played in a few derbies.
“Obviously the Old Firm is the main one but there was also the likes of Crewe v Port Vale and Plymouth v Exeter but it is a bit different down south as teams tend to have a couple of derbies.
“For instance, when I was at Plymouth the last couple of years, Portsmouth was a derby and they are four hours away.
“Bristol was the closest one we had because Exeter weren’t in our league. Bristol was two hours up the road as well so it is a bit different.
“The rivalries are still good down there but it hasn’t the same feel as when you are across the road from each other. You certainly couldn’t walk to one.
“I haven’t really thought about that walk yet, to be honest.”
McPake should have a full squad to choose from for tonight’s game with no injury concerns.