New Dundee United manager Micky Mellon says he is looking forward to the challenge of leading the club into the Premiership.
It was a happy Monday for the Tangerines as former Tranmere Rovers boss Mellon signed a two-year deal to replace Robbie Neilson in the manager’s office.
The 48-year-old’s appointment comes just over two weeks after Neilson’s surprise return to Hearts.
His departure prompted a thorough search by the United hierarchy, led by sporting director Tony Asghar.
St Johnstone legend Tommy Wright was an early favourite for the role before former England gaffer Steve McClaren’s withdrawal from the race after discussions with Asghar, while SFA performance director Malky Mackay was also a serious candidate.
However, it is Paisley-born boss Mellon who will take charge of United on their top-flight return.
The former Fleetwood Town and Shrewsbury manager’s first match in charge will be the visit of St Johnstone to Tannadice on August 1.
Having spent his whole playing and coaching career in England, he is relishing the challenge that awaits him in the City of Discovery,
He said: “I am very happy to be here at Dundee United.
“The challenge of managing the club in the Premiership is an exciting one.
“I look forward to meeting the players and am really keen to get started.”
Mellon has an impressive record in the lower leagues down south and is regarded as a promotion and play-off specialist.
He was also the boss who handed Leicester legend Jamie Vardy his break in the professional ranks at Fleetwood, signing the future title winner and England international for £150,000 from Halifax Town.
The Scot – who also worked with Three Lions duo Jack Butland and John Stones during his time as Barnsley caretaker and assistant boss – in recent days has received glowing reports from players who have worked under him, including Jack Grimmer and Ian Black.
He will meet the United squad for the first time tomorrow and is expected to work with coaches Lee McCulloch and Gordon Forrest, who have both been linked with a move to Neilson’s Hearts, with the official unveiling in front of media taking place on Wednesday.
Unsurprisingly, United chief Asghar was ecstatic after securing the signature of the man he believes can lead the club to new successes.
He said: “I am delighted to welcome Micky Mellon to Dundee United as our new manager.
“After a rigorous process where we spoke to a large number of excellent candidates, we see Micky as the man to lead our team into the Scottish Premiership and continue the success we have achieved so far.
“Having known Micky for many years, his record of being a winner cannot be understated and his enthusiasm and standing in the game make him an ideal fit to the culture at Tannadice.
“He is a players’ manager and someone who will embrace the fans and local community which is highlighted by him moving to the local area with his family.
“I would also like to thank Mark Palios at Tranmere for his professional and respectful manner during the negotiations.”
The appointment was hailed by former Scotland and Rangers captain Barry Ferguson, who worked under Mellon during a loan spell at Fleetwood Town in 2012.
He told PLZ Soccer: “It’s a real wise choice by Dundee United. I was lucky enough to play for Micky for a month on loan.
“I saw him first-hand, he’s a good coach and a good man-manager. I’m delighted for him.
“I knew at some stage he felt he was ready to go and coach at highest level whether that be in England or Scotland.
“I know he’s kept a close eye on Scottish football and I’m delighted he’s got the chance to go and manage Dundee United in the Premiership.
“The Dundee United fans should be happy because they’ve got a top guy and a top manager.”