Micky Mellon admits he will fulfil a boyhood dream when he takes charge of his first Dundee United match.
While everyone in Scottish football is relishing the return to competitive action after a four-and-a-half month shutdown, Mellon has been waiting several decades to sample the game in his native country.
The Paisley-born manager previously spent his entire career outside of Scotland, from a teenager at Bristol City through playing spells at the likes of West Brom, Tranmere, Blackpool and Burnley and managerial stints at Fleetwood, Shrewsbury and back at Prenton Park with Rovers.
So Saturday’s Scottish Premiership encounter against St Johnstone will be a special occasion for Mellon.
“Even though I am 48, I am doing what a 15-year-old boy wanted to do,” he said. “I’m now getting the opportunity to do that.
“So it’s all fantastic for me. I’m loving every minute of it, I am enjoying being back home. Because this is home for me.
“I’m back home, I’m operating in the stadiums and against the teams that I watched as a 15-year-old boy before I left and had to go to England at 16. So it’s great, all very fresh to me.
“I am enjoying being back in Scotland, everybody understands me first time. I don’t have to adjust my accent.
“I have been told by my missus that I have become very, very Scottish again. What that means, I don’t know, but she will have to get used to it. Maybe we will convert her accent.
“But I’m having a great time, loving being at Dundee United, loving being at the football club and speaking to you guys and not having to adjust my accent. It’s terrific.”
Mellon’s lockdown and pre-season was spent at two clubs right in the thick of the coronavirus-affected controversy. After two consecutive promotions with Tranmere, the Merseyside club were relegated after the Sky Bet League One season was called with them three points adrift with a game in hand.
While Rovers took legal advice, Mellon departed and soon found his new club on the receiving end of court action as Hearts attempted to prevent United getting promoted.
The case was only resolved on Monday, leaving United finally free to full focus on their return to the top flight after four years.
Mellon said: “I never really concerned myself with the legal stuff, politics. It’s not my remit, other people were paid to deal with that.
“But I am just glad to get football going again. We all have a responsibility to move the game on again and we will get the opportunity to do that again on Saturday, so I am very grateful to do that.”
Saturday’s game will be preceded by the tradition of the Championship winners unfurling the league flag but without any supporters inside Tannadice.
Mellon said: “We will still enjoy it as much as possible, the undoubted deserved Championship flag which is going to be flying above the stadium, we will enjoy that and then crack on with what’s important, and that’s to make an impact in a division that Dundee United absolutely belong in.”