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JIM SPENCE: A tale of three managers on Tayside, as Dundee United, Dundee & St Johnstone weigh summer dugout options

Mark McGhee, Tam Courts and Callum Davidson (L to R) are all being assessed this summer by their respective clubs' ownership
Mark McGhee, Tam Courts and Callum Davidson (L to R) are all being assessed this summer by their respective clubs' ownership

What’s the future for the three managers at Tayside’s top clubs?

Tam Courts has had a successful first season as Dundee United boss and it would be prudent for owner Mark Ogren to tie him into a new contract and back his manager in the recruitment market next season.

Talk of five or six new signings isn’t unrealistic at Tannadice, with a goalkeeper, striker, wide players and creative midfielders all needed.

Courts’ hopes of building his side around midfielder Dylan Levitt are understandable, but the worry must be that the Manchester United loanee’s fine form attracts English clubs who can offer wages United can’t compete with.

Planning for next season: Dundee United boss Tam Courts

Courts works within Dundee United’s business model, with sporting director Tony Asghar having an overarching role in identifying signing targets, and he appears comfortable with that set-up.

However, many other clubs still give their managers full control in the recruitment process and it’s not inconceivable that a suitor who admires the work Courts has done at United might enter the picture to offer him overall responsibility.

To head that possibility off at the pass, United’s owner needs to nail his man down for the longer term at Tannadice, where progress has gone much more smoothly than some critics suggested it would.

Across the road at Dundee, the rumours are that Jack Ross will be invited to rebuild the club and I doubt that Mark McGhee’s role is anything other than a temporary stint at Dens.

I wonder too if Gordon Strachan might cut his ties with the club as technical director to take on a bigger role at Celtic, where he has had consultancy duties.

Dundee boss Mark McGhee (left) and technical director Gordon Strachan (right) worked together in Strachan’s Scotland set-up

Strachan is well-regarded by Hoops majority shareholder Dermot Desmond and, with Mark Lawwell, son of former chief executive Peter joining as head of recruitment, it looks like Celtic are beefing up their operations to ensure a prolonged period of domestic dominance – and to boost their European ambitions.

Jack Ross would be an ideal candidate to stabilise Dundee and reconstruct the team and youth set up.

He has big club experience and many folk were bewildered by his sacking at Hibs; I reckon most Dee supporters would regard his capture as a major coup by John Nelms.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson.
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson

In Perth, Callum Davidson is getting flak from angry supporters on social media, with a small number of them unfairly playing the man and not the ball.

The danger for the Saints boss is that the feeling is spreading to some of the more level-headed fans, who are now questioning how the manager has managed to turn a stunning double cup success into a relegation battle.

Recent personnel changes at McDiarmid Park mean chairman Steve Brown is taking a back seat, and I expect Ian Flaherty, the new head of operations, to become a very significant figure in providing support and advice to help steer the Saints boss and the club towards safer waters.

PODCAST: Dundee United fans can look out their passports but which goalkeeper will be playing for them in Europe?

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