Tony Asghar was startled when his phone rang at 5.30am and Micky Mellon ’s name flashed up.

After all, Dundee United’s new
manager had only been in the job a matter of days.

The Tannadice sporting director needn’t have worried.

That early-morning call from Mellon only emphasised just why the club appointed him in the first place.

The Terrors gaffer was up at the crack of dawn watching footage of United games from last season and was
pestering Asghar for info.

That’s the kind of graft and
commitment United fans can expect from a Glaswegian brought up on the working-class values of a Pollok housing scheme. Mellon’s upbringing didn’t just shape him as a person but also as a manager.

Being schooled as a player by
battle-hardened bosses such as Joe Jordan at Bristol City and Sam Allardyce at Blackpool only added to that.

Despite a 32-year career in England, his accent has never changed.

As well as being thrilled to be Dundee United ’s new boss, he’s also delighted to be home and that mum Margaret finally has her big boy back.

Mellon is as determined as ever to bring success to Tannadice hence that early rise last week to fully immerse himself in his new
team’s capabilities.

As he settled into the role, he said: “As much as my eyes have been open over the last week, all I’ve watched is Dundee United.

“Tony was laughing the other day because I phoned him at half past five in the morning.

“Where I’m living, I had big crows outside the window and I forgot how much daylight we get up here.

“I couldn’t get to sleep and woke early so I was up watching United from half five.

“I thought if I’m up, he’s up so I called Tony. That’s the relationship we have.

“I wanted to ask him about this and that. I want to hit the ground running.

“I work really hard – that’s one of the qualities I was given as a kid.

“You work hard to get what you deserve. Tony answered because I just kept ringing.

“He said: ‘Are you all right’? I told him what I wanted and he said: ‘Ok, give me a minute’. He better get used to that.”

Those hard-working traits have been ingrained in Mellon since he was a boy in Glasgow before leaving for Bristol City at the age of 16.

He said: “I was born in Paisley’s maternity hospital but moved to Glasgow at around nine-months old. We went to South Nitshill.

“I can only remember playing football in the streets with everyone else and in school until I left Scotland to pursue a career in England.

“It was just football, football, football. I still have my accent because I’ve never found a better one.

“I’ve worked hard to keep hold of it although my wife says I’ve immediately fallen into not rounding off my words so that people up here can understand me again.

“My mam’s over the moon. She’s got her son back. She’s not really bothered about football, she’s got her big boy back at 48.

“It’s great to be around my Scottish family again and they’ll be able to come and see games I’m involved in.

“They’re excited that I’m going to spend part of my career here now.

“My mam is back in Elderslie with her side of the family but the Mellon side is still in the Pollok area. We are still richly represented in those areas of the West of Scotland.

“As a person, I think the environment you’re brought up in and the people you grow up with shape you massively.

“They influence you and give you the qualities as a person that make you what you are.

“I was brought up very well in an area where everybody who was older than me was Mr and Mrs.

“I still do that to this day. You don’t talk to someone in a way you wouldn’t like to be spoken to yourself.

“All the qualities I was taught are the ones you pay the penalty for if you don’t stick to them. It very quickly made me realise that I should stick to the rules I was taught by my elders.

“As I’ve grown up, the managers I’ve worked with have also shaped the way I am as a coach and as a person.

“You’re influenced by them all and hopefully I can give the United players those qualities – and shape them in the way I was.”

Jordan has iconic status as a player and made his mark on a young Mellon at Ashton Gate three decades ago.

Allardyce, renowned for his no-nonsense, pragmatic approach, also had a huge impact on his central midfielder at Blackpool, with Mellon insisting he was well ahead of his time.

He’ll use all of that experience on Tayside as he attempts to get United challenging high up the Premiership table.

His first task with the squad left behind by Robbie Neilson was reminding them what they’ve achieved already.

Mellon said: “Joe doesn’t need any introduction in Scotland.

“To go to him as a 16-year-old and see the standard he lived by, his preparation, his lifestyle, how he ran a football club, was a massive eye opener, a huge learning curve.

“At that stage I thought it was the only way to run a club and I’ve carried forward parts of what I learned from him. I still call him gaffer to this day. Sam was unbelievable as well. He was well ahead of his time.

“We were doing things in terms of eating habits that people are just bringing in now.

“Things like creatine, sprint coaches, analysis – Sam was doing all that 20-odd years ago.

“I learned from that and I still speak to him once or twice a week. He keeps pushing and prodding me to improve.

“I’ve worked with some great managers, guys who shaped the way we play football now. Ossie Ardiles was another one.

“At United, first and foremost I need to see what I’ve got within the building and decide the best way for us to win games, score goals and get clean sheets.

“I can’t just come in and say: ‘I want to play like that.’ I have to get the best out of the group I have.

“I want to put a little bit of my personality on it but it doesn’t need a wrecking ball here.

“I’ve got the champions and I reminded the players of that the other day.

“Because of this pause, it has been sad for them that they’ve not been able to revel in it but I told them I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the champions.

“You could see them all shuffling their feet a bit.

“I had to remind them because they haven’t been able to celebrate.

“I’m working with the champions. There will be a step up in quality but these boys will be able to adapt and get better.”