Dundee manager James McPake is relishing the prospect of Sunday’s derby with United and can’t wait for what he says is “the best walk in football”.
McPake and his players will make the short walk from Dens Park to Tannadice to face their rivals in the first derby of the season, in front of what will be a sell-out 13,000 crowd.
The atmosphere inside Tannadice is set to be one to remember but for the Dundee boss, the occasion will start with the journey to the ground and something he believes is special to the city.
“It’s something that’s unique,” he said. “They (United) changed it a couple of years ago and came on a bus. We got the option to go on a bus from the police this year.
“It’s the best walk in football. You’re walking down there to play your biggest rivals and you know the place is packed.
“It’s not so much that you’re walking down for a battle. You’re walking into their territory and going down to say ‘Let’s get a positive result to take back up the road’. Why would you take that away?”
The manager has experience of rivalries as a player but believes that the rivalry between the near neighbours is the right type and is a credit to Dundee as a city.
“When I came to the club I was surprised when I heard about it because I was used to getting police escorts into Tynecastle when I was at Hibs,” he said.
“The walk down is fantastic. I think what it does show is the football spirit in this city. It’s fierce.
“The derbies are fierce and they hate each other for however long the game goes on for, and then the fans can go and have a beer together after it. I think that’s fantastic as a city.”
McPake’s players need no extra incentive to make their mark in the fixture but he said that there was one stat they were desperate to correct.
“What we want to do is go down there and break a 17-year hoodoo,” he said. “That’s the carrot for us and it’s what we’ve put to the players, to go down there and be the first Dundee team to win there in 17 years.”