Gary Irvine has revealed the relationships between himself, Dundee coach Dave Mackay and manager James McPake are built on trust.
But the Dee’s U/18 coach admits that, when it comes to knowledge, all three bow down to Gordon Strachan and Jimmy Nicholl.
Irvine, Mackay and McPake are a tight-knit group at Dens.
Their friendships are long-standing.
But Irvine says the trio’s working relationship has been boosted by the input of veteran coaches Strachan, currently Dundee’s technical director, and Jimmy Nicholl, McPake’s assistant.
Irvine said: “We have a good relationship with each other, me and [Dave Mackay] at Dundee.
“I’m obviously really close with the manager, we’re from the same area, Airdrie, and have known each other since high school.
“We’ve always kept in touch and since being team-mates at Dundee have driven up together.
“Going into the manager’s job, James has always said he needed people around him he could trust and its important to have good people around the place. Players pick up on that.
“Having Gordon Strachan and Jimmy Nicholl’s experience is fantastic as well.
“We might have our playing experience but they have 30 years more experience in the game than any of us. That’s invaluable.”
Irvine and Mackay work closely together at Dundee – but it’s not the first time they have worked together.
Dee first team coach, Mackay, was brought to St Johnstone by Derek McInnes while Irvine was the Perth side’s first choice right back.
In the end, Mackay went on to be come a club legend at McDiarmid, while Irvine moved on to Dundee.
But there are no hard feelings from Irvine, who has loved every minute of his time at Dens Park.
He said: “Dave Mackay came in from Livingston in [St Johnstone’s] first season in the SPL to add competition for places. I was unfortunate because I’d chosen to have surgery to tidy up an ankle problem that had niggled me.
“The plan was that would tie in with the close season and I could start pre-season.
“But it hindered me and I was behind with my fitness and struggled a bit to get back to form.
“Dave, obviously, came in and did well and I think him being able to play in a few positions helped him, too.
“I recognised at that time, being in my mid-20s I wanted to be playing every week and I wouldn’t get that at St Johnstone.
“I’ve nothing against Del, that’s the decisions that have to be made to win games – when Dave came in, the manager couldn’t guarantee me games and I heard there was interest from Dundee.”