Jim Goodwin is adamant that no one in football deserves success more than Dave Cormack.

The new Dundee United manager sent his best to his former Aberdeen chairman after he underwent successful open heart surgery in the US last month. Despite a nightmare end to Goodwin’s Pittodrie tenure, the two men remain on good terms, and Goodwin joked he was ‘sorry’ for causing Cormack’s health issues with a torrid run of results.

But he stressed he was pleased to hear the 63-year-old was on the road to recovery, insisting he’s every bit as big a Dons fan as the punters who turn up on a Saturday.

“I messaged Dave because we left on good terms,” Goodwin revealed. “I was grateful to him for giving me the opportunity and believing in me in the first place. 

“I was really sorry to hear I’d caused it with the results up at Aberdeen! Listen, I’m not making lighthearted out of a very serious situation and I’m glad that he’s had the attention and care he needed. 

“He’s on the other side of the surgery now, he’s back home and on the road to recovery.  I wish him nothing but the best, both in his recovery back to full health and in football. 

“If ever a man deserves success in football it’s him because of the personal investment he’s made. He really does care about the club up there, he’s extremely passionate and is as big a fan as any of the season ticket holders who walk through the gates.” 

Meanwhile, Goodwin has defended beleaguered United keeper Mark Birighitti, suggesting that low confidence is the primary factor for high-profile errors between the sticks. Birighitti was dropped for 21-year-old academy graduate Jack Newman in Liam Fox’s last match in charge, a 4-0 drubbing at Ross County.

Goodwin has not yet decided who will start Aberdeen on Saturday night, but appeared to give Birighitti a degree of backing. The Tannadice manager also confirmed that a deal for 32-year-old American keeper Bill Hamid was agreed before he took the job, and that his arrival is being held up by ‘one or two visa issues’. For now, however, Goodwin has a call to make on Birighitti.

“There have obviously been a couple of key moments in games where his mistakes have led to goals against, which unfortunately for goalkeepers tends to be the case,” the manager said. “But he came here to Dundee United with a really good pedigree and I don’t think he’s become a bad keeper overnight.

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“I do think confidence has played a part. As a group it’s about getting back to basics and getting the discipline right with a good structure in the team offensively and defensively.

“I’ve got a decision to make in that department for Saturday but also in a number of other key areas in the pitch.

“I’ve got some hard calls to make that are maybe going to upset one or two but it’s in everyone’s best interests that I put the strongest XI on the pitch.”