Gordon Strachan has admitted he “forgot to play football” when he was made captain of Dundee at the age of 19 – because he was too busy trying to emulate his hero Billy Bremner.
And he has branded himself “officially useless” when given the armband at Dens Park by manager Tommy Gemmell back in 1976.
The former Scotland boss has returned to his first club as the Dens Park technical director where he has set about re-shaping the club’s youth setup in the past year.
However, he revealed his own formative years as a young player didn’t go quite to plan.
Speaking to Dion Dublin, a player he managed twice at Coventry and Celtic, on the entertaining Dion’s Gaffer Tapes podcast, Strachan said: “I was captain of Dundee when I was 19 and I was officially useless!
“I tried to emulate somebody and crashed and burned horrendously.
“I wanted to be Billy Bremner at Dundee.
“I could see the players looking at me going ‘shut up, you’re no Billy Bremner’.
“And I forgot to play football. I was useless.
“I loved everything about him and I had the same physique as him, thought I was as hard as him, but nothing was as hard as him.
“I had to find out my own identity without trying to copy somebody.
“Eventually I found it a couple of years later, and it certainly wasn’t Billy Bremner!”
A few years later the future national team manager would be taken to matches around Angus by Sir Alex Ferguson while at Aberdeen, being given coaching lessons even in his early 20s.
Though, he admits it wasn’t till later in his career before he seriously thought about coaching.
Strachan added: “I always loved football and taking things in.
“When I was a young man at Aberdeen, about 20, 22, Sir Alex used to pick me up and go to watch Brechin v Montrose and Arbroath games because he knew I loved football.
“We’d watch these games and he’d say ‘this is happening, that’s happening, he’s doing this’ but I wouldn’t get it because I was too young.
“Then we’d get back in the car and we’d have to listen to Bill Shankly tapes all the way back to Aberdeen.
“I was never obsessed with the game, I just love it.”