Tam Courts insists the ‘bloody nose’ Aberdeen gave Dundee United on the opening day of the season has set his side on the path to success.
United’s Premiership campaign got off to a poor start as goals from Jonny Hayes and Christian Ramirez helped Dons to a 2-0 win.
But any fears United fans may have had over the Courts era were swiftly allayed when they ended champions Rangers 41-game unbeaten run.
United went on to lose just one of their next nine league matches to challenge at the top.
They have since lost to St Johnstone and Hearts, but will be keen to return to winning ways when Aberdeen visit Tannadice on Saturday.
And Courts insists his United side is a different animal to the one that lost at Pittodrie.
Tam Courts describes Dundee United ‘breakthrough’ moment
“I didn’t feel it was a catastrophic performance but we were beaten by the better team,” said Courts.
“We never hit the heights we were hoping to and, naturally, came in for some criticism.
“That was accepted by the players, staff and myself.
“We had a really positive meeting the following week and it may have brought the breakthrough we needed.
“It is not something we dwelt on.
“Maybe it’s a bit of a backhanded compliment that people always go back to the Aberdeen result.
“It gave us a bloody nose many months ago.
'Fancy footwork from Mulgrew!' 🤯
Charlie Mulgrew showed some nice moves, as he racked up an assist and a goal in Dundee United's 2-1 win against Motherwell 👏
Watch the Sportscene analysis ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/h9cSxoWzSx
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) October 24, 2021
“But the players have performed to such a good level since then that we’ve been the polar opposite.
“The players deserve enormous credit for how far they have come in such a short space of time.”
Tam Courts: Scott Brown has plenty left in the tank
Meanwhile, Courts has hailed the impact Scott Brown has made on Aberdeen this term.
Ex-Celtic captain Brown has been deployed in a defensive role for Dons this term and has been hugely influential.
👌🏼 The diving header.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) October 28, 2021
“You can see going from Celtic to Aberdeen that he still has plenty left in the tank,” said Courts.
“He is still showing what a top player he is. He has shown his versatility by playing in the middle of a back three.
“Aberdeen have been changing in-game so there is tactical flexibility there.
“It’s a game we are excited about and one we should be confident about playing well and fighting for three points.”