Csaba Laszlo was the Dundee United manager for less than a year and was in charge for 42 competitive games. Courier Sport looks back on some key dates in that time.
November 8, 2017
Csaba Laszlo is appointed by then owner and chairman Stephen Thompson on an 18-month contract. His main rival for the post was thought to be John Hughes. Best known in Scotland for leading Hearts to a third-place Premier League finish in the 2008-09 season, his CV also included managing Uganda and Lithuania, the Hungarian side Ferencvaros and Dunajska Streda in Slovakia. United were fourth in the Championship when Ray McKinnon was sacked but second when Laszlo took over, as caretaker Laurie Ellis had steadied the ship.
December 29, 2017
Laszlo’s start was a fairly decent one but defeat to St Mirren just before the turn of the year proved to be a pivotal result. It set in motion a run of 12 games with only three wins that took them out of title contention and led to the club going into the play-offs for the second season in a row.
May 11, 2018
United had beaten Dunfermline in their first play-off round but shot themselves in the foot at Tannadice against Livingston with typically poor defending and the 1-1 draw in West Lothian was not enough to get them through to the final against Partick Thistle.
Though United had fallen short, it quickly became clear that the cull of players in the summer would not include the sacking of the manager. Together with Paul Sturrock, Laszlo was tasked with overhauling the playing staff and signing after signing arrived over the close-season. Laszlo took the calculated gamble to use the Betfred Cup games as glorified pre-season friendlies, with all his eggs in the league basket. Despite some dreadful results in the cup, Mike Martin (by now the club chairman) took the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to Laszlo’s project in a round of media interviews at the start of August. “He’s built his squad, he’s built his coaching staff,” Martin said. “And he’s going to use that to help us achieve our Premiership ambitions.” That faith was questioned just three days later when United were well beaten by Dunfermline on the opening day of the league campaign.
September 22, 2018
A trip to face pointless and bottom of the table Falkirk (and the team managed by his predecessor, McKinnon) was billed as a game that could cost Laszlo his job if his team lost. They didn’t – they won 2-0 – and it felt as if this might finally be the moment for United to go on a run of form that would show them to be genuine contenders.
September 29, 2018
Pre-match, even Laszlo’s harshest critics (of which there were many) probably wouldn’t have predicted he would be gone after the Ross County fixture. United were unbeaten in seven matches and were coming off that confidence-boosting Falkirk victory. Crucial players were returning from injury and there was cautious optimism. But the performance (and result) was so bad against County that chairman Martin had no option but to act. United under Laszlo never looked like the title favourites they should be, either with the squad he inherited or the one he built, and few supporters would have wanted him to get longer to alter that.