It will not be any easier second time around, insists Dundee United interim manager Laurie Ellis.
Ellis will again take charge of the toiling Tangerines in a caretaker capacity when they head to Somerset Park to face Ayr United tomorrow.
His first stint followed the departure of Ray McKinnon as United gaffer a year ago and was extremely successful.
A bold team selection away to Dumbarton set the Tangerines up for a fine 2-0 win then came a 2-1 victory over eventual champions St Mirren at Tannadice – a result that sent United joint top of the table.
The players at that stage were backing Ellis to take over but the coach himself felt it wasn’t the right time. Laszlo was subsequently announced and the rest is history.
Now it seems as if another successful spell in the dugout will make it very difficult for Mike Martin and his board to overlook him.
However, Ellis declined to sing his own praises and cautioned that it will not be easy to get United winning again after that dreadful 5-1 defeat to Ross County last Saturday.
Asked if he will benefit from having been there and done it 12 months ago, Ellis replied: “No it doesn’t make it any easier because I know the expectation and the pressure that will come on Saturday.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The Courier newsletter
“I know my job is to absorb that pressure and have the players sharp and focused in their heads so that they can concentrate on things on the pitch.
“I like the challenge.
“You tell me that it couldn’t be any tougher – away to the league leaders – but I think we know the division well enough to realise that there is no situation where you go into a game thinking it will be comfortable.
“Especially when it comes to this club, people enjoy playing against us, enjoy coming to Tannadice and enjoy welcoming us to their place.
“Ayr have good players and a very experienced manager (ex-United boss Ian McCall).
“They have players whom I played against in my time so I know their qualities and they are very hard-working, have pace and are a very good, honest bunch of boys who go out and fight for their team every week.”
Ellis surprised many onlookers at Dumbarton when he made five changes to the United line-up that had kicked off against Inverness Caley Thistle in McKinnon’s final match.
Asked if the fans can expect a similar approach this time, he replied: “I’m not sure yet.
“There’s a squad of 20 players there, some young players, but all of them focused because they feel a level of accountability to the previous manager, the club and the supporters.”
He also stressed his desire to bring the feelgood factor back to the fans, thousands of whom left the County match understandably early.
Ellis added: “We all remember nights and big games at Tannadice, for example when we had 10,000 for the Hibs game.
“The place was bouncing and there was the connection between the supporters and players.
“The only people who can bring that back is us.
“We need everything to come together and we need to give the supporters something to come back to Tannadice for.
“That’s the biggest frustration I have. I wish every one of those fans could be on the pitch to feel the difference that makes to the players, to feel the wind it puts behind their sails.
“We have a responsibility to bring something to the table that excites them and I wish we can return to a bouncing Tannadice again.”