Dundee United did well last season. Fourth in the league, securing a European qualification spot, is a significant improvement on the previous term’s ninth place, all achieved under new manager, Tam Courts, who was a coach at the club before his appointment.
A year on and United have lost Courts, who is wanted by Rijeka, the side who finished fourth in the Croatian league. What chance do United have of building a sustainably successful team when they lose their manager after one season when he managed to split Hearts and Motherwell?
So what’s it to us? Back in the years after Rangers liquidation the subject of what competition Celtic needed was often discussed. I argued the last thing we needed was a club gambling their existence every season in an attempt to finish ahead of us – they will occasionally win, then they will crash. The competition Celtic could really do with is from Aberdeen, United Hibs and Hearts.
These are teams who, if they get their act together to the extent that they can out-compete Motherwell, can take points of Celtic home and away, will play expansive football and provide regular competitive games.
The great scourge of these clubs has been the drift of their most promising players south without adequate compensation heading back north. If they are now losing one-hit-wonder managers to a team fourth in Croatia, you have to wonder if a viable plan for sustained success is even possible.