When Dundee boss Paul Hartley was a player at Hearts, he saw the emergence of a young goalkeeping talent called Craig Gordon.
Now, the Dens manager is witnessing the rapid development of another stopper showing he has a similar temperament and quiet desire to succeed as the present Celtic keeper who has been capped 42 times by his country.
Scott Bain has been a stand-out performer since signing for the Dark Blues during the summer from Alloa and yesterday he put pen to paper on a contract extension that will keep him at Dundee until 2018.
Hartley has known the 23-year-old from when they were both players at Pittodrie and the keeper was his first signing when he became boss at Alloa.
He was determined to bring him to Dens after he took over from John Brown and his faith has been repaid with Bain producing some stand-out performances this season that have earned him his contract extension.
Hartley said: “I’ve known him for the last four or five years and, even as a player at Aberdeen, I saw something in him. That’s why I took him to Alloa.
“And he’s just become a better and better keeper, year in, year out. His performance levels are really high. Now he has to keep pushing himself and he knows that.
“We’re really pleased to get him on a long-term deal, because that’s important for what we’re trying to do here at the club, build a squad and a team who can compete on the park and be a mainstay in the Premiership for years to come.
“I spotted him when I was at Aberdeen as a player. He was a young goalkeeper coming through the youths.
“When he got released, he was the first player I signed for Alloa. So I know how he is, I know his attributes.
“He’s still got a lot to work on in his game, he’ll be the first to admit that. But at 23, he’s a very talented goalkeeper.
“His temperament is a very big part of it. We always talk about goalkeepers being mad but he’s the exact opposite.
“He’s so calm and composed, nothing fazes him. And he’s improved during his time here.
“I think he’s enjoying it, enjoying being the No. 1. He’s just got to keep working hard.
“Who does he remind me of? I think you have to look at a young Craig Gordon coming through the ranks at Hearts.
“Craig was 19 or 20 when he first came on the scene and, in terms of goalkeepers I’ve worked with, there is a comparison to be made there.
“Craig was exactly the same as Scott, the same type of person, calm and not likely to get fazed by anything. And obviously he was a top goalkeeper.”
Hartley said last month that he had put all contract talks on hold as he wanted to see whether Dundee would be in the top six after the split.
However, Bain’s performances recently, which had seen him linked with possible interest from Celtic, sparked a change of mind.
Hartley added: “Yeah, I think so. I think he’s been at the top of his game for the last few months.
“We just felt that, at his age, it was vital to have a long-term plan for him and the club.
“We’ve seen the speculation surrounding him. It hasn’t bothered him one bit.
“That just comes with playing well.
“We’ve got to try to protect ourselves, as well and Scott was happy to sign.”
Bain will be between the sticks for tomorrow night’s derby at Dens but Hartley revealed there was a big doubt over the participation of another important player, James McPake.
The central defender had to come off against Inverness at the weekend and he has been sent for a scan on his knee.
Hartley said: “James caught his knee in training on Thursday, did very little on Friday and felt OK throughout the game. He just landed awkwardly at a corner.
“It’s a wee bit concerning. I spoke to him yesterday and it had calmed down a bit but we want the scan to see what was wrong.
“If James was to miss out, it would be a loss. He’s an important player for us. All season he has been a rock at the heart of the defence, a great organiser, leader and talker.
“People questioned his fitness when we brought him in but he has been the mainstay of the team. That’s been pleasing for all of us.
“If he misses out, we’ve got options on the bench. But we’ll give James every chance.”
Dundee will face a United side that was defeated at home by Ross County on Saturday and has not won in their last nine games.
However, Hartley insists his players will certainly not be taking anything for granted against a side that has beaten the Dark Blues three times already this season.
He added: “Look, they’ve got good players. We’re under no illusions about the talent they have in their squad, we’ve seen it throughout the season and in games against us, in particular.
“We know they’ve got players who can hurt you anywhere. We need to be focused on what we can do.
“We’re trying to look at getting as many points before the split, try to get into that top six. We’re not far off but we know we need to win some games.
“If we get a result in the derby, it takes us a couple of points behind United, yes. But the main thing for us is trying to catch our nearest opponent.”
The last time the two sides met, Dundee were on the wrong side of a 6-2 New Year’s Day hammering at Tannadice.
However, Hartley insists he will not be using that result as motivation for tomorrow’s game.
He said: “I tend to stay away from that. I like to look to the future, the next game.
“We never really spoke about it after the game we tried to wipe it from our memories.
“It did hurt us, the players were hurt, we know that, and it hurt the supporters.
“But we focus on this game and don’t mention what happened last time.”