Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

JIM SPENCE: The nightmare Moscow trip with Europe-bound Dundee United I’ll NEVER forget

Dundee United line up before facing Dynamo Moscow in the Russian capital in 2012
Dundee United line up before facing Dynamo Moscow in the Russian capital in 2012

It’s ten years since I’ve covered Dundee United in Europe.

I’m unlikely to forget the trip to Moscow where airport officials detained me and my BBC colleague Alan Preston (aka Biscuits), while they rummaged and reenged through our broadcasting equipment, insisting that the forms required for the gear were incorrect.

At one stage they put us on a mini-bus and had a dodgy looking geezer drive us around a wooded forest area for a couple of hours as we panicked that KGB headquarters was the destination.

Finally, tired of the game and having rattled us to their satisfaction, they cleared us and we pitched up at the media hotel four hours later, shaken but not stirred.

The scoreboard didn’t make good reading for the travelling Dundee United fans in 2012

To compound matters, Dynamo Moscow thumped United 5-0 in the Tannadice club’s 110th European appearance to round off a miserable trip.

European football, though, undoubtedly brings an air of glamour and excitement to the humdrum domestic game – and united fans will once again be sampling the delights after making it to the qualifiers.

And as Courier football writer Alan Temple pointed out, United’s finances could be set for a very healthy boost.

Dylan Levitt (centre) notched the goal against Celtic that secured Dundee United a place in Europe for the first time in 10 years

Not that long ago, with Scottish clubs often heading out after the first round, qualifying could be an expensive business, once travel costs had been deducted along with the potentially negative impact of an early start to the season.

Now though there’s a decent return to be made.

That cash improves with further progress in the competition and it becomes a virtuous circle, with the extra revenue and the glamour of European competition allowing the club to attract better players.

Dundee skipper Charlie Adam.

Dundee FC need to put this season’s disappointments behind them and fire on all cylinders to return to the Premiership in one leap.

A club with the potential fan base they have shouldn’t be near the Championship.

To escape it, they need a manager who can organise, inspire and motivate a squad which will need to be radically overhauled.

The average age of the team needs to be reduced and the fans need to have their faith restored.

Gordon Strachan’s role at Dens has been unclear among supporters but now, as director of football, he’ll have overarching responsibility for identifying and attracting new players to the club as well as having a major input on the most pressing task – hiring the next manager.

Gordon Strachan alongside Dundee chief John Nelms
New Dundee director of football Gordon Strachan alongside managing director John Nelms.

Tim Keyes and John Nelms have to lead from the front in showing determination to restore the club’s fortunes and put an end to its yo-yo reputation.

Medium to long-term, the youth set up has to be properly resourced to compete with – and beat – neighbours United in developing the best local talent, and there are already some positive signs on that front.

I’m told that plans to push ahead with the new stadium at Camperdown are being pursued determinedly and, while I’ve said I think a more central location in the city would’ve been better, I’m in full agreement with the need to move from Dens, unless the old ground can somehow be reconfigured and rebuilt to meet modern day needs.

PODCAST: Will Gordon Strachan REALLY be able to give Dundee director of football role the commitment it demands?

Already a subscriber? Sign in