Coming to the end of his 35th year, Dundee captain Charlie Adam insists his drive to succeed on the football pitch hasn’t dimmed.
But now, instead of being a young player determined to emulate his heroes, Adam is now taking on midfielders 15 years his junior.
And that is a challenge he looks forward to every week in the Premiership this season, including today against Motherwell.
“Week in, week out, I look to who I am playing against,” Adam said.
“For me it is trying to be competitive against lads who are in national teams like Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson and Jamie McGrath at St Mirren.
“At the age of 35 going on 36, can I still be competitive against them, can I use my knowledge against them?
“Everybody is talking about them so that’s what I am using as my drive this season, trying to perform at a good level.
“You have the fear because it is coming to an end – we all know that.
“The younger ones are coming through as well and they want your position.
“Players of my age have had 15, 16 or odd years at it and we all know one day it will stop but you still want to be competitive week in, week out.”
‘Sit down’ at the end of the season
He added: “I am 36 next month. Is it still just a number? Ask me in January!
“I am still enjoying playing and that is half the battle. It doesn’t make it any easier the older you get when you lose a game. It is probably harder to get over it.
“We will see what happens at the end of the season.
“We will sit down but the most important thing is that the club stays in the Premiership and everything else will take care of itself.”
Golden oldies lighting up the Premiership
Adam, though, points to a few of the Scottish top flight’s ‘golden oldies’ as proof that age maybe is just a number in the Premiership.
However, he does admit breaks like the three-week one Dundee have just had and the lay-off in January require more thought in your mid-30s.
Asked whether he can afford to take time off from training these days, Adam replied: “No, that’s why I have been talking to the manager about the winter break.
“We will probably get a week off but I will still have to train myself.
“You feel the difference coming back into the training if you have two or three days of a break.
“So you have to keep going yourself, doing some extra runs, whatever you can, just to keep in good condition and ready to go because these younger lads now just seem to be a lot fitter and move a lot quicker.
“So like I said, you just have to look after yourself a bit more and that’s the challenge the older you get.
“It is important that you keep performing on a Saturday.
“I think the older ones in the Premiership at the moment – myself, Allan McGregor, Steve Davis, Scott Brown, Craig Gordon – are still playing as well as anybody in the league.
“I always look at the boys who are still competing at the top like Thiago Silva at Chelsea.
“They are all phenomenal professionals and hopefully an inspiration for the younger players and the generation coming through.
“They show that if you apply yourself and look after yourself properly, then you have a long career ahead of you.”