LEE MCCULLOCH hopes he can help Dundee United reclaim their Premiership place after joining Robbie Neilson’s Tannadice coaching staff.

Herald Sport revealed this week that the former Rangers captain had clinched his return to the game 18-months after leaving Kilmarnock and he got down to business at their St Andrews training base on Wednesday morning.

McCulloch will be in the dugout for the first time when United face promotion rivals Ayr United at Somerset Park tomorrow evening as Neilson’s side look to move level on points with Ross County ahead of their clash with Alloa.

And the 40-year-old hopes the future will be bright for the Arabs once again as new owner Mark Ogren and his board look to lead the club back to the top flight.

McCulloch told Herald Sport: “The last few years for the club haven’t been great, they have been on the cusp of coming up and not managed it, got to play-offs and not got promoted.

“I sensed a difference when I spoke to the new people in charge, the new board and, of course, to Robbie.

“With a new regime in place, it is a club that is being run differently and they have got a plan. The people involved are very ambitious and obviously Robbie is as well so it is great to become part of that.

“It is definitely a new era for a club that is too big to be in the Championship. I think a lot of people don’t realise how big a club it is.

“It is not going to be easy to get up into the Premiership but if we could manage that then the fans come back again. If you look at it, it is a top six club, but you have to go and earn that.”

The appointment of McCulloch is the latest move that United have made to build for the future after American businessman Ogren completed his Tannadice takeover last month.

Tony Ashgar has been brought in as Sporting Director, while Mal Brannigan has been named as Managing Director as boss Neilson sets his sights on promotion this term.

The former Hearts and MK Dons manager now has his side within touching distance of top spot in the Championship and McCulloch hopes their stint in the second tier will come to an end sooner rather than later after a series of failures in recent years.

He said: “I think there has been, in the past, a bit of mismanagement higher up and at the manager level at times, but now that is all changing and the negativity seems to have been flushed out.

“Under a new board, they are going in a new direction and changing the way that they do things with the Sporting Director and the manager and it is great to be part of it.

“Working under Robbie is the biggest pull for me but just speaking to the new board, the new regime, it is clear to see the ambition is there, the drive is there and the plan is there.

“They seem to be having a real go and there is loads and loads of positivity coming from them in the conversations that I have had and it really is moving on from the past. There is a different atmosphere to what I have known at Dundee United at times.”