Derek McInnes is expecting a tough game against old pal Tony Docherty when Kilmarnock travel to Dundee in league action on Saturday.
The pair worked together for around 15 years at a string of clubs including St Johnstone, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock before Docherty took on the role at the newly promoted club in the summer.
McInnes has been impressed by his former assistant’s side this season and is looking forward to taking Killie to Dens Park as they look to climb back up the table after a three-game winless run.
The Ayrshire club started the season with a bang in a 1-0 win over Rangers at Rugby Park before following that up with a 0-0 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle.
They then knocked holders Celtic out of the League Cup with another 1-0 win at home, but they haven’t won a game since and suffered back-to-back defeats to Motherwell and Ross County before coming back from two goals down to draw with Hibs last week.
Ironically the Glasgow clubs were the only teams they failed to beat in the whole of last season and this time around it is the only two teams they have defeated since the start of the Premiership campaign.
And McInnes is now looking to put that right by getting the three points in Tayside this weekend.
He said: “I think Dundee have put together a really strong squad, Doc’s been really well backed which is great to see.
“I think as a newly promoted team they had some really good players already in the building, particularly a lot of younger ones, so I think they’ve added plenty of numbers, I think 15 or 16 players, I’ve seen them in the flesh and I think they’ve got a bit of everything really, a bit of size, a bit of experience, good creativity and obviously trying to get more goals into the team, as everybody is because that can make the difference.
“For a newly promoted team they’re in a good place at the minute.
“It’s still early on, but I think for Doc it was such a good opportunity, I think there’s a lot of things going for it, the fact he lives in Dundee was a big tick in the box, I think being up there and particularly when it is going well it can be good for him being around the family.
“The second part of it is he has inherited a newly promoted team, and usually when you get your first job as a manager, normally you are going in because there is problems and there is issues, but he’s getting the club in a really good way with a feel-good factor and you have the buy-in from the fans straight away and you’re trying to keep that bubbling along.
“I think he has been backed really well, which pleases me because he’s a good friend and you want to make sure he’s getting looked after and I think John and the board at Dundee have tried to help him and put together a really strong squad, and I know from speaking to Doc he has been really pleased with the backing he has had.
“So with all that said, it is still early on in the season but I think the signs are there that he can have a strong campaign.
“Football throws these things up, you go back to old clubs, you come up against people you’ve worked with for years, Doc was a brilliant member of staff for me, he’s such a good boy and from the time I asked him to be my assistant at St Johnstone when I got the job, I fought hard to get him in from Dundee United where he was taking the reserves at the time, and it was one of my better decisions to get him onboard.
“We worked really well together for such a long period of time, but on Saturday it’s about Kilmarnock against Dundee and not really about anything else.
“I expect a tough game because I know they will be well organised, they’ve got good players and it’s away from home and we will need a good performance to win the game.”
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