Paul Dixon missed Dundee United’s 2010 Scottish Cup Final triumph through injury – yet his only regret is that the Hampden heroes didn’t pick up more trophies.
The 33-year-old, now at Falkirk, played in every round of the tournament before breaking his toe in the semi-final win over Raith Rovers.
He was in the stands at the national stadium a month later as Peter Houston’s Tangerines eased to victory against Ross County thanks to David Goodwillie’s opener and a double from Craig Conway.
The starting XI that day also featured the likes of Dušan Perniš, Andy Webster, Garry Kenneth, Prince Buaben and Morgaro Gomis, all capped at international level.
Ahead of the tenth anniversary on Friday, Dixon told The Courier: “With the Scottish Cup season at United, there’s a bit of disappointment at missing the Final.
“I stupidly went for oxygen treatment thinking that bone would heal in time to play.
“But I still felt part of it walking back to the changing rooms and drinking out of the cup even though I wasn’t part of the day in terms of playing.
“I had a broken toe from a 50-50 tackle in the semi-final. I kicked through the ball and kicked the boy’s stud.
“I knew straight away that was me. I had to run from one end of the pitch to the very other, take a throw-in and run back.
“I then signalled to the bench that I was finished – I knew I’d broke my toe.
“I never got a medal for winning the cup and that’s something that grates with me.
“I didn’t get one and neither did Darren Dods and Damian Casalinuovo and I played in pretty much every round of the cup apart from the final.
“I’m not sure it was to do with the club or the SFA – it is what it is.”
Dixon – who came through the ranks at Dundee before starring for United, Huddersfield and Grimsby – enjoyed meeting up with his old team-mates at a celebration event at the city’s Invercarse Hotel in January.
He added: “We had the dinner in January which was great.
“I was interviewed by the club, the current chairman was there, the fans were there and it was good to catch up with the guys.
“We had a great team and were finishing third or fourth every year and qualifying for Europe.
“It was a quality side. We managed to get one cup but we should’ve had more.”
The left-back returned to Tannadice in 2015 and an eventful second spell – which ended just over two years later – saw him play in the League Cup Final defeat to Celtic, suffer relegation from the top flight, win the Challenge Cup and lose to Hamilton in the Premiership play-off final.
Incredibly, he was released by his boyhood heroes, United, as a schoolboy.
That led to him meeting Stevie Campbell, at the time a youth coach at Dundee, who would go on to nurture a generation of starlets at rivals United, including Ryan Gauld, Stuart Armstrong, Johnny Russell, Scott Allan and John Souttar.
Dixon said: “I think I was nine or ten and I was training with Dundee United on Wednesday nights.
“Then they decided they didn’t want me any longer. Being a United fan, I thought my world had ended.”
It wasn’t long, however, before the Dark Blues stepped in and a friendship was born.
He adds: “Stevie and I are still good friends today, I help him with his football academy when I can.
“We just clicked. I owe my career to Stevie Campbell
“From U-13s at Dundee right through to when I went up to the first-team, if I didn’t have his stewardship during that period of my life I don’t think I would have the career I have today.
“He built solid foundations for me to go and become a first-team player at Dundee for three years.
“It was great and I worked with some good managers but unfortunately we didn’t get promoted [from the second tier].
“It was time for me to move on.”
The former Scotland international was unveiled as a Tangerines player in June 2008.
He said: “Craig Levein showed an interest and growing up I supported United so it made sense. They were my boyhood heroes and I wanted to work for Craig.
“He’s the best manager I’ve had in my career. He’s phenomenal.
“His demands and attention to detail are incredible. He’s a scary man at times but you knew if he was giving you a bit, it was for a good reason.
“I believe that’s why it was the best period of my career playing-wise.”
Levein handed Dixon his debut for the national team in a 0-0 draw at Hampden against Serbia in September 2012.
He appeared in the 1-1 stalemate with Macedonia three days later before winning his third and final cap under caretaker gaffer Billy Stark in a 2-1 away win over Luxembourg in November of that year.
The defender, who is studying for his Uefa A Licence, said: “They were amazing times. It was so strange, on my debut it was the least nervous I’d ever felt for a game and I really don’t know why.
“Lee Wallace and Charlie Mulgrew were the left-backs and these guys were injured so I got my chance.
“I don’t care how it happened, I took it.
“They’re great memories. It’s the pinnacle of anyone’s career playing for your country.”
Gordon Strachan, now Dundee’s technical director, replaced Levein in the Scotland hot seat and Dixon quickly realised he wasn’t going to be part of the former Celtic manager’s plans.
He said: “We [Huddersfield] were playing Birmingham and I was up against Chris Burke. Gordon Strachan was in the stand.
“The squad was about to be announced after that weekend.
“I’ve played well against Chris and kept him quiet, which is a hard thing to do. Chris was in the squad and I wasn’t.
“That was the time I knew I’d never play for Scotland again.
“I didn’t give up – I was just realistic. It was difficult to take because of that particular game when I played well.”