Julen Etxabeguren has taken a circuitous and unique road to the Premiership.
But as unconventional and unpredictable as his path from Real Sociedad to Dundee has been, success for him as a top flight footballer is starting to look blindingly obvious.
The man who was studying at university in Edinburgh a year ago was starring in the same city on a football pitch at the weekend.
For the wandering Spaniard, the 1-1 draw with Hearts was the completion of a circle.
“Last year I was playing part-time (with East Fife) but I was still training every day on my own,” he recalled. “Maybe I was thinking that one day I’d have this chance to play in the top league.
“I worked hard last year and here is the opportunity for me. When you play at a stadium like this, you realise it’s the right decision.
“I feel good playing in the top league.”
Turning your back on one of Spain’s biggest football clubs to play at Methil is the sort of decision that could come back to haunt you, but it hasn’t for Etxabeguren.
“I don’t have any regrets,” he insisted. “This is the best for me I think. It wasn’t good there my head wasn’t on football and it wasn’t the right atmosphere to develop in.
“The best thing was to change and come to East Fife and play part-time.
“They (Sociedad) were promising a lot of things to me and I wasn’t getting there.
“You think you are focused on football but you are not because your head is in another place. I was playing football but due to all the promises that were made to me I wasn’t playing my best.
“That’s football. Every manager has to make decisions and you have to respect that.
“I’m really grateful to Sociedad because I was there for 12 to 13 years and all I can say to them is thank-you.
“Now it’s another phase of my life.”
That next phase will be helping take Dundee into the top six. And Saturday’s draw suggested that is an achievable target.
Dundee went behind to an Arnaud Djoum header but turned the match around in the second half and were rewarded with an excellent equaliser from Rory Loy.
With Etxabeguren, James McPake and Kevin Thomson back in the side, and Greg Stewart back to near his best, Paul Hartley’s men look like a team on the up again.
The defender said: “It was a hard game a hard stadium to play in.
“We didn’t do so well in first half but we could have won the game in the end. I think we’ve shown we can match good teams. Hearts are second in the league.
“We need to start the next game not thinking about being in the top six or third or fourth. We need to play every game as a final and if we do that we can get good results. Then we can get into the top six at least.
“How high are my ambitions? As soon as I went from Sociedad to East Fife I decided only to concentrate on the present.
“It’s nice to play in such a top league against good teams when it’s really competitive. It’s a pleasure to play here.
“I just want to improve a little every day and things will happen.”
With performances like Saturday’s, Etxabeguren is able to make football look simple.
His area of expertise off the field is anything but, though.
“I was working in an enterprise place developing a system called li-fi,” he explained.
“Li-fi is pretending to do the same as wi-fi but with the light so that the communications and the data connections are much more secure.
“Right now I’m fully focused on football. It only lasts until your 30s so I have enough time to work as a software engineer after that.”
His manager at Dundee might not know much about li-fi and software engineering, but he does know an excellent display from his centre-back when he sees one, and from his team as a whole.
“Julen was absolutely outstanding,” Hartley said.
“I’m really pleased for the players. This is a tough venue to come to. It shows how far we’ve come as a group.
“In the second half I thought we were by far the better team and looked really dangerous. I didn’t think we were out of the game, even in the first half. They had a lot of possession but didn’t cause us too many problems.
“We’ve got a front three who will cause anybody problems.”
With another transfer window looming, Hartley will continue to look to the lower leagues for his next Etxabeguren, Stewart, Loy, Holt, Hemmings or McGinn.
“There are players out there,” he said. “I think we’re doing well at picking up the best players from there.”