Calum Butcher is gutted to see Dundee on the brink of relegation – because he would have loved to bring the derbies back to the city next season.
The Dundee United midfielder savoured clashes with the Dark Blues during his first spell for the Tangerines, and had those fixtures in his sights again when he returned to Tannadice in the January transfer window.
But Jim McIntyre’s men are staring the drop in the face ahead of Saturday’s game against Hamilton after the 4-3 defeat at Motherwell left them seven points with just three games remaining.
Butcher is fighting to help Robbie Neilson’s United get back into the top flight through the play-offs and avoid the resumption of derbies in the second tier.
He said: “Those derbies were something I really enjoyed the last time I was here.
“They’re great occasions and brilliant for the city.
“It will be disappointing, of course, if Dundee do go down because you do like to play in those big games.
“But it’s just massive that we get up now. That’s all we’re thinking about.
“There are still some big teams in the Premiership, which is where we want to be next season, so all our thoughts are focused on getting back to where we feel we belong.”
United’s final Championship fixture is away to Morton this weekend before they face either Ayr United or Inverness in the play-offs.
Butcher believes they are coming good at precisely the right time, with three league wins on the spin.
He said: “Maybe something we need to do is take our chances a bit more.
“So we’ll have to bear that in mind come the play-offs.
“Overall, though, it was a good performance against Falkirk.
“I still think we’ve got more to give. A lot of things are coming together at just the right time.
“We’ve got more options up front now with Osman Sow back fit now and partnering Pavol Safranko.
“There are loads of goals in the team which can only bode well for the weeks ahead.”