SEAN DILLON doesn’t expect any favours from new Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon in his testimonial year.
But the Tangerines’ club captain has revealed he already has one in the bag from the time before McKinnon became his boss.
After just a few weeks of working under United’s new gaffer, Dillon knows he will have to earn his place this season.
That’s just the way the Irishman likes it.
But he has more reason than most to give his all to McKinnon’s cause.
Back in the United boss’s SFA days, he was the man who coached Scotland’s coaches – and the man who helped steer Dillon towards his UEFA “B” Licence.
McKinnon’s advice is something the Tangerines skipper remains grateful for.
Now, five years on, he is determined to repay him by helping United escape the Championship.
“It was a good while ago now, but myself, Willo Flood, Jon Daly and Scott Severin, all team-mates at United, were doing our badges at the same time,” said Dillon.
“The club was great and granted us access to the GA Arena, just opposite Tannadice, to work on a few things with the schoolkids before our assessments.
“I’m not sure how it came about that Ray was there, because he was working for the SFA at the time. But he turned up one day and he was good enough to watch what we were doing.
“He took us aside and gave us a few pointers and, looking back, what he was saying seemed so simple, but we hadn’t grasped it ourselves.
“That’s what good coaches do – they simplify.
“It was a small thing, but it was a big help to all the boys in getting through the assessments.
“If you asked any of them now, I’m sure they’d say they were grateful.
“I certainly am, and I’ve now got a chance to repay him, so that’s what I’m aiming for.”
In January, Dillon will mark 10 years at Tannadice, and efforts are underway to secure a testimonial match against top opposition.
Discussions have already taken place with clubs north and south of the border.
But Dillon’s only concern is United’s impending Championship campaign – and it’s one he feels they are being perfectly prepared for.
He said: “The manager hasn’t been in for long but he has certainly made the place his own.
“He knows what he wants to do and how he wants it done. He has been very clear with everyone what is expected.
“He is demanding, he has high standards, and that’s not going to change.
“Given our position this season and our ambitions, that’s absolutely fair, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Ray McKinnon appointed new Dundee United manager on three-year contract
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