Both Dundee sides are flying high at the same time – and that’s an unusual occurrence that fans should savour.
It also led us to wonder on the Courier Talking Football podcast which of the clubs’ two bosses can claim to be more successful so far this season?
It was a bit of light hearted fun because there’s the width of an old fag paper between Jim Goodwin and Tony Docherty.
With so many variables, from budget size, to different divisions, to how we actually define success, answering it was mission impossible.
So far, Tony Docherty’s Dundee side and Jim Goodwin’s United have exceeded all expectations.
Much has been made of ‘Doc’ being in his first gig as a boss, but that doesn’t do justice to the huge experience he garnered over his long partnership with Derek McInnes.
The fruits of that lengthy learning period are now crystal clear in the superb start Dundee have made under his stewardship.
Their 4-0 thumping of St Mirren, currently the best of the rest outside of the Old Firm, speaks volumes for the quality of the squad he’s assembled at Dens.
Even the most ardent Dee optimists wouldn’t have bet on being level on points with Hearts after 12 games, or having the fourth best defensive record in the league jointly with McInnes’ Kilmarnock.
At Tannadice, while United were favourites for the Championship, few would’ve expected the team to remain unbeaten after 13 outings in a league where everyone is desperate to take them down a peg.
Given the frustrations of many Arabs as the season began over their striking options, even fewer would have predicted the goal machine they’ve turned into, netting 33 times, 13 more than nearest rivals Raith Rovers.
Equally impressive is the defensive misery which Goodwin’s men have inflicted on all comers in the division with their Scrooge-like attitude to conceding, by losing only six league goals.
When your ratio of goals scored to those lost is over five to one, anyone still complaining is firmly in the Olympic moaners category; not that I’ve heard many Arabs bleating about what’s turning into a terrific season.
Both city bosses are long enough in the tooth though to know that football has a habit of delivering nasty surprises – and it wouldn’t startle anyone if there are some shocks to come.
Dundee’s excellent start could look a lot different after the international break, with tough fixtures to come against Hibs, Motherwell and Rangers looming.
But there’s a steadfastness about the Dens side, which looks capable of matching – or at least running close – everyone outside of the top two, so any upsets may well be remedied quickly.
United, meantime, have looked impervious on league business and their record of nabbing goals late in games speaks volumes for their robust mentality.
Raith Rovers are their only serious challengers and shared the points with the Tangerines in their last meeting at Stark’s Park.
The clash of the pair on December 16 at Tannadice could be a key psychological moment for both sides, but there’s an air of unshakeable resolve in this United side, which suggests that any setback would prove only temporary.