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Thomas Courts makes ‘seamless’ transition as stand-in for isolating Micky Mellon

Micky Mellon File Photo
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Dundee United academy coach Thomas Courts insists he has made a “relatively seamless” step into first-team duties after boss Micky Mellon and his staff were placed into self-isolation.

Three non-playing members of the United staff tested positive for Covid-19 as part of Tuesday’s round of testing and training was cancelled on Wednesday.

A club statement explained the developments, saying: “Following recent positive Covid-19 tests for non-playing staff and ahead of further discussions with the Scottish FA and Tayside Health Board, we have taken the precautionary decision to ask all our first-team coaching staff to self-isolate.”

Courts, the academy’s head of tactical performance, took training on Thursday and will do so again on Friday, although it is unclear yet as to whether he will be required to take charge of United for the Premiership clash with Livingston on Saturday.

The former Kelty Hearts boss, who played for Livingston, Cowdenbeath and East Fife, said: “It is an on-going developing situation, but from my perspective, on a personal level, just anything I can do to be of service to the players and represent the gaffer and the staff. That is my immediate focus just now.

“It has actually been relatively seamless because the way we work with the under-18s, we actually work to the same periodisation model.

“The way we design, deliver and execute training is actually very similar.

“So in terms of the way that I have been integrated, it has actually felt very seamless for me, hopefully it has been quite seamless for the players because ultimately it is their comfort levels that are the priority just now.

“Hopefully they are feeling content, they understand what is expected of them.”

Courts is not looking as far ahead as Saturday and revealed he is in constant dialogue with Mellon.

He said: “I am speaking to the gaffer probably every six hours, so I am only working on a six-hour cycle at this moment in time.

“I will have a session prepared for tomorrow. I have his detail into the players today.

“We will speak later today in terms of what the focus needs to be for tomorrow, but at this moment in time it is probably a six-hour cycle before I know what the next six hours is going to entail.

“But because we work in a very aligned fashion I am completely comfortable with what’s required of me just now.

“Micky is feeling fine, probably a little bit frustrated because up until this point he has managed to keep himself out of a situation that takes him out of the dugout, away from his players.

“He will probably be feeling a little bit of frustration, but he certainly hasn’t voiced that to me.

“All I have felt is support, empowerment and just making sure we are quite clear on what his players need at this stage of the week to heighten the probability of playing well on Saturday.”