Watching Chris Mochrie star for Montrose last season, he played with a grace and an elegance you can only hope he’ll soon translate into tangerine.
The Dundee United kid is an effortless talent. A midfielder who travels around the pitch at a glide.
The Terrors’ youngster would be forgiven for playing with the weight of the world on his shoulders, too, as he carries with him the tag of being the club’s youngest-ever player.
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It is a record he took from John Souttar two years ago as he came off the bench in an end-of-season fixture at Morton aged just 16 years and 27 days old.
Now 18, and with a stint at Links Park under his belt, he insists he doesn’t feel burdened by his unique status.
Instead, it is pride for Mochrie and an aim to be pushing into the first team at Tannadice after some time spent learning the game in League One.
‘I’m happy and proud that I have it’
“I don’t really think about being the club’s youngest player, to be honest, it’s not something that sits on my mind,” the Dundonian said.
“I’m sure it will get broken at some point anyway when someone else comes along.
“I’m happy and proud that I have it at the moment, but it won’t last.”
Mochrie continued: “I got a lot of first-team experience at Montrose and think I have come back ready to challenge for a place in the team here.
“It was a great learning experience, you pick up things you wouldn’t get in academy football.
“I’m definitely glad I did it, I feel a better player for it and want to take what I learned into this season.
“Sometimes it’s not pretty football and you have to learn to deal with that, because you don’t get those sort of games in youth football.”
United hero Dillon mentored Mochrie
Not only did Mochrie shine on the pitch for the Gable Endies last season, player-coach and United hero Sean Dillon taught him some tips for off the park, too.
The Tangerines’ kid is grateful to Dillo for taking him ‘under his wing’ as he adjusted to a new environment.
Mochrie added: “Montrose were great to me, as soon as I came in Sean Dillon took me under his wing and helped me through it.
“He’s obviously a very experienced player who knows Dundee United well, so he talked to me a lot about football and the way things work.
“I’m really grateful to him for the time he took to work with me.”
Kelty the first chance for Terrors kid
Mochrie’s first chance to impress under new head coach Thomas Courts comes tonight when United head for Kelty Hearts.
The teenager will be hoping to be involved in the Premier Sports Cup Group B opener in some form and feels ready for the challenge of Kelty after his time spent in the lower leagues.
And, with former academy coach Courts now in charge of the top team, Mochrie is hopeful he and other young stars will get more opportunities as the season progresses.
He commented: “Kelty will be a difficult test, they are a good side who have had a lot of success over the years.
“We have good experience as well as young players. It has been good for a lot of us younger ones to get out on loan and that will stand us in good stead.
“The manager has told me to do what I can in training and I will get a chance.
“The season comes around quickly, it has been a quick turnaround but we are ready to go.
“This competition gives players like me a chance, it’s a big opportunity for myself and the other young players to make a case.
“This season I want to get into the team, get some games.
“I am still young so you need to be patient, but after last season I feel like I have good experience and want to build on it.
“The new manager has come in, it’s a younger coaching staff and he’s putting his ideas across.
“It has only been a couple of weeks but we are ready to go, it’s exciting times.”