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Tam Courts has stated that he is ready for his “next challenge” after departing Dundee United by mutual agreement.

The 40-year-old, who took over the Tannadice hot seat last season after a spell in the club’s academy, has been recently linked with a move to Croatian side Rijeka.

A statement on United’s website confirmed that after the former Kelty Hearts boss had expressed “a desire to explore other options away from Tannadice, we have now reached an agreement with Courts that will see him leave the club with immediate effect”.

Courts said: “I’m immensely grateful to everyone at Dundee United for the opportunity they gave me to manage such a prestigious club.

“Tony Asghar (sporting director) took a chance on me and I had terrific backing from the owner Mark Ogren, the exec team and from my backroom staff such as Liam Fox and Adam Asghar.

“A special thank you must also go to the players who have been a joy to work with and a pleasure to lead.

“They give maximum effort to everything they do for the club and I hope they have continued success for next season and beyond.

“Without their support and the backing of the fans, we wouldn’t have achieved our fourth-placed finish and qualification for the Europa Conference League.

“It’s not an easy decision to move on from Dundee United but I believe my time with the club has helped me grow and develop immensely, both personally and professionally and I feel ready for my next challenge.”

Courts led United to their highest-placed finish in nine years and secured European football for the first time in a decade.

He also gave 16 academy graduates first-team experience, with Archie Meekison, Kieran Freeman and Ross Graham earning Scotland Under-21 call-ups.

Tony Asghar anticipates making an announcement on a new boss soon.

He said: “I’d like to place on record our gratitude towards Tam Courts for the service he has given Dundee United both as head coach and in his previous role as head of tactical performance.

“We made a brave appointment last year by promoting from within but it was a calculated risk that clearly paid off.

“We enjoyed a lot of success on the field last year and qualified for Europe. This is testament to the culture we have created throughout the club.

“Tam bought into our long-term strategy to develop some of the finest young talent in Scotland.

“The fruits of our labour are there for all to see with the recent international call-ups of Archie, Kieran and Ross.

“But through the course of discussions with Tam it became clear he was keen to pursue other options and we had to look after the best interests of the club.

“Following continued discussions, we have now agreed to mutually terminate his contract to allow him time to secure his next opportunity.

“He leaves with our best wishes, but I would like to assure Dundee United fans that the club is moving in a timely fashion to appoint a new head coach.

“We have identified a preferred candidate and we anticipate making a further announcement on this in the coming days.”