Liam Fox has been impressed by the growing influence of veteran midfielder Arnaud Djoum on his Dundee United squad.
The 33-year-old former Cameroon international moved to Tannadice as a free agent in October and has made nine appearances so far.
Fox, who previously worked with Djoum at Hearts, feels he has been a shrewd addition both on and off the pitch.
“He’s done great,” said the United manager. “On the pitch, he’s had a good impact on games and you can see his fitness levels are back up to where they should be.
“Probably just as importantly is how he’s been with the group off the pitch. He trains properly every day and he mixes with everybody. He’s a real great guy to have in your squad.
“He’s also raised the level in training because boys know if they take too long on the ball in training, Arnaud will come and smash them, regularly, and then pick them up and have a laugh with them.
“He’s been brilliant but I knew what I was getting with Arnaud because of the type of the player and lad he is. I think we’re seeing impact on the pitch, which is the main reason I brought him. He doesn’t look like a 33-year-old.
“As the game at Hibs (two weeks ago) went on, he got stronger. He’s worked incredibly hard over the World Cup break so we’re hopefully getting the benefit of that. I think you can definitely see there’s a good bit of life in his legs.”
United are aiming to maintain their promising recent form when they host cinch Premiership leaders Celtic on Sunday.
Fox’s team are still only three points off the bottom of the table as they continue to recover from a terrible start to the season, but they have lost only one of their last six games since the World Cup break.
“I think we’ve made progress,” said the manager. “I think the performances and some of the results back that up.
“We’ve still got a bit to go and areas we need to work on but I think we can see we’re making progress and that’s important for the players and the fans.”