Steven Whittaker will draw upon the footballing philosophy of Tony Mowbray and the insatiable winning mentality of Walter Smith as he embarks on his own coaching career.
Whittaker, 36, announced his retirement as a player on Thursday as he turns his sole focus to life in the dugout, officially becoming first-team coach alongside new Dunfermline Athletic boss Peter Grant.
To say he has a vast array of experience to call upon would seem something of an understatement — and he intends to utilise all of that on the training pitch.
Whittaker played 31 times for his country and won nine major honours during stints with Hibernian, Rangers and Norwich City. He also played in the 2008 UEFA Cup final for the Glasgow giants.
He said: “Different managers have had different impacts on me throughout my career.
“I look back to someone like Tony Mowbray, who took over the Hibs team and had us play a style of football that was exciting and fun to be a part of.
“Then you have Walter Smith, with that mentality side of things. The demands he set to win things, and being at Rangers, had a massive impact on how I see the game and how you have to set standards to be successful.
“You go down south and you play a more tactical game down there, playing against Premier League managers whose tactics are spot on. That is everything in this day and age – the formations, the details and positions that they go into.
“I learned a lot of that kind of stuff in England.
“Now it is about trying to gather all that together and make the most of the information that I might be passing on and helping the staff, Peter [Grant] or Greg [Shields] or the players in any way.
“Hopefully with the experience that I have gained I can be a big help.”
The enthusiasm and certainty with which Whittaker discusses the latest chapter in his career makes it crystal clear that this was a carefully considered, painstakingly planned move.
There were “aches, pains and niggles” last season but one would be hard pressed to argue that Whittaker looked like a man ready for retirement. He made 24 appearances and seemed to have at least another year in his legs.
But, he was decided.
“I suppose it was a mixture of body and mind — and wanting a fresh challenge,” he continued. “
“It was a hard decision as all I’ve known is playing for 21 years. But I took a lot of advice and prepared for the moment. Having something to step straight into and focus on has made it easier, too.”
He smiled: “It’ll be nice to watch the boys do the running instead of being in among them! It certainly doesn’t get any easier at my age.”
‘It’s about progression and development’
Whittaker’s maiden campaign after hanging up his boots promises to be a mouth-watering one, with the Pars seeking to mount a promotion-challenge in a tantalisingly poised Championship.
He added: “It’s definitely going to be more competitive and, while Hearts and Dundee probably expected them to go up last season, I’m not sure who will be favourites.
“I’d like to think we are in that conversation and can be competitive and consistent to finish higher than last season. It’s about progression and development for us.”