IT’S been the match of Sturrock, Scott, and McLean and is one of the few derbies in the world where the away side walks to the ground. 

And for Ryan Sweeney, the Dundee defender, the chance to play in one of the game’s most unique occasions already has him counting down the hours until kick-off at Tannadice. 

When the Irishman and his team-mates make the 200 yard journey from Dens Park through the likely throngs of baying Dundee United supporters on Sunday, he’ll only be too happy to embrace every moment of a clash he’s so far just watched from afar.

It will be full blooded, trench warfare for 90 minutes but Sweeney wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“They’ve told me to expect a heck of an atmosphere,” the 24-year-old said when asked what he expects from the match. “I’ve seen clips and highlights of the derby from afar and it looks incredible on TV

The National: The derby is often a heated occasion The derby is often a heated occasion

“To be there next week and experience that will be something special to me personally. It’s one I’m really looking forward to. 

“It’ll probably be my biggest derby experience. There were a couple of grudge matches in Bristol but nothing like having you rivals just across the road! That’s the biggest one I’ve been involved in. 

“I’ve been told you just walk across for the game — I don’t think you get that anywhere else in the world!

“I can’t wait to experience the day and I’d love it if we come back with three points.” 

If Dundee are to get the better of their rivals and break their Premiership duck, they’ll need their larger than life characters to step up to the plate. In times gone, Coyne, Lovell, and Gilzean have delivered but on Sunday they’ll be looking to Leigh Griffiths, Charlie Adam, and even Paul McGowan to write their names into the history books. 

It’s suddenly - especially with the introduction last week of Griffiths - a dressing room of big personalities at the top half of Tannadice Street and Sweeney is convinced that can only be a good thing. 

“I think you need characters,” the former Stoke City man said. “And the career some of our boys have had at the very top level gives you that character and personality. 

“It’s brilliant for the younger lads to learn from the experienced pros who have had brilliant careers and are still doing it in the Premiership.” 

Dundee will head into the derby on the back of a bitty 0-0 draw with Livingston at Dens Park on Saturday. 

Sweeney actually came closest to breaking the deadlock with a header and the man who denied him believes Livi’s first point of the season came at a crucial moment. 

“It was massive for us,” said the Lions goalkeeper Max Stryjek. “We wanted to win it but during it we decided we had to get something out of it. Even if that wasn’t to win it then we would at least take one.

“It [the start to the season] was frustrating because I don’t think we were that bad. I thought we played quite well throughout the games but we couldn’t really manage to control the full game or eliminate the small mistakes.

The National: Leigh Griffiths came close to scoring for Dundee on his second debut for the club Leigh Griffiths came close to scoring for Dundee on his second debut for the club

“We are training every day and we trust each other more. We have developed as a team and we trust one another. Hopefully we can get it sorted among ourselves.” 

Stryjek’s early season form - the mistake against Aberdeen aside - has been one of the highlights for David Martindale’s Lions, with the Pole a player transformed.

“I treat every game the same and I presume all my team-mates treat it like the World Cup final,” he said when asked about his form. “I just go out and perform and every footballer should be like that.”