Dundee United’s Premiership season begins in mouth-watering fashion on Sunday with a visit to New Firm foes Aberdeen.
It will represent a maiden league match in charge for Tam Courts and a stern test for a United side seeking to develop a brand of attacking football and a commitment to young talent.
Here, Courier Sport whets the appetite for the trip to the Granite City by looking back on some opening day crackers from yesteryear.
United 2-1 Dundee, 1999/00
Paul Sturrock’s Tangerines kicked off the campaign in fairytale fashion in front of 11,693 fans and, in doing so, exercised the ghosts of successive home defeats against their fiercest rivals during the previous season.
Magnus Skoldmark opened the scoring, only for Willie Falconer to restore parity early in the second half — firing past current Dundee goalkeeping coach Alan Combe.
However, Portuguese poacher Joaquim Ferraz, signed earlier that summer, made an immediate impact by heading an 85th-minute winner beyond Rab Douglas.
United 3-4 Celtic, 1991/92
A fresh-faced John Collins illustrated his precocious promise when United and Celtic played out a blockbuster clash at Tannadice.
Jim McLean’s men were gutsy and persistent, fighting back from 2-0 and then 3-1 down to ensure the sides entered the final stages with the score balanced at 3-3. Duncan Ferguson and Michael O’Neill (2) netted for the hosts.
However, Collins’ second goal of the game ensured Liam Brady’s Hoops nicked the points.
St Johnstone 1-3 United, 1990/91
This was the Saints’ first game back in the top-flight under Alex Totten following a 14-year absence and saw the visit of their Tayside rivals to the — for the time — ultra-modern McDiarmid Park.
However, their day in the spotlight would be usurped by a young United starlet named Christian Dailly, who, at 16, notched his first ever Premier League goal.
United 2-0 Aberdeen, 1982/83
One of the great rivalries of the 1980s continued with this curtain-raiser at Tannadice, as goals from Maurice Malpas and Davie Dodds secured victory over Alex Ferguson’s visitors.
To underline the importance of this triumph, McLean’s legends would go onto win the Premier Division title by a single point ahead of the Dons and Celtic.
United 3-0 Dundee, 1979/80
Four months prior to McLean’s first honour as United boss — the 1979 League Cup — he would begin the campaign with a statement victory.
Despite the hosts handing a top-flight debut to £100,000 signing Willie Pettigrew, Paul Sturrock, Billy Kirkwood and Derek Stark would ripple the net, while there was even leeway for Ray Stewart to miss a penalty.
United 3-3 St Johnstone, 1971/72
Before Shaun Rooney was bagging cup-winning goals for the Saintees, his great-uncle Benny was scoring in a breathless classic against United.
Rooney’s late equaliser supplemented a John Connolly brace as Willie Ormond’s fine Saints side (they would participate in Europe for the first time in their history that season) roared back from 3-1 down to claim a draw.
Alan Gordon, Alec Reid and Andy Rolland were the scorers for Jerry Kerr’s Terrors.