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Jack Ross has ‘enormous respect’ for Derek McInnes ahead of season opener
The Dundee United boss takes charge of his first competitive game away to Kilmarnock.
Jack Ross will come up against a friendly foe when he takes his Dundee United side to Kilmarnock for their cinch Premiership opener on Saturday.
The United boss has “enormous respect” for his opposite number Derek McInnes, the former St Johnstone and Aberdeen manager who brought Killie back up to the top flight last season by winning the Championship.
Looking ahead to his first competitive match as Tannadice manager since taking over from predecessor Tam Courts in June, Ross said: “First of all, coming up against a manager that has been brilliant to me through my management career, someone I have enormous respect for, somebody people should recognise as a top manager in Scotland, so that means his team will be good.
“They achieved success last season by winning the league and they will come up looking to build on that momentum.
“We have come up against each other a lot as managers and have enjoyed it, we have both had successes at different times against each other.
“I think it is a brilliant opening game for us because of the atmosphere that will be generated with them being back in the Premiership, the numbers we will travel in and there is always that intensity around it.
“Both teams will look at it as an opportunity to get off to a good start.”
Ross added further strength to his squad late on Friday evening with the confirmation that Scotland under-21 winger Glenn Middleton had joined from Rangers on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
“I’m really excited to have Glenn here. He will be a brilliant addition to our squad,” Ross said. “The fans will see the quality he can provide on the pitch but it’s up to me to get that out of him on a consistent basis.
“I’ve spoken about Mathew Cudjoe’s impact and ability to eliminate players and produce something out of nothing and Glenn can do that too.
“He’s a player I’ve already worked with in the past – albeit for a relatively short time. But I’ve always watched his career to see how he is progressing. He’s a really young man but he has a huge amount of potential and there’s still a lot he can achieve in his career.
“He spent four years at Rangers but I think he needed a fresh start and he’s admitted that himself. He’s played well against my teams as an opposition manager and also against Dundee United. It’s down to me to help him showcase his ability all the time.”
Meanwhile, Declan Glass has agreed a new one-year extension that will take his existing contract through to 2024.
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder will also join SSE Airtricity League side Derry on loan until November as part of his development.
The United academy graduate will team up with former United team-mate Mark Connolly at the Irish club, after Connolly completed a permanent switch to Derry earlier this week.
Sporting director Tony Asghar explained the move to United’s official website: “Declan moving to Derry City on loan allows him the opportunity to continue his development in a first-team environment.
“Last season, in coming back from a serious injury, he had a stop-start season but we have all seen the qualities he has in his time playing for United.
“We need to give players an opportunity to play games regularly to be a long-term asset for Dundee United.
“By extending his contract, we are committing Declan to rise to that challenge.”