With speculation over the future of Dundee keeper Scott Bain, ex Dark Blue shot-stopper Derek Souttar believes Paul Hartey should mould his team around him while he still can.
The former Alloa man has been a standout since following Hartley from Recreation Park to Dens Park back in 2014 but may well be on the move this summer.
With his current contract due to expire at the end of next season, the goalie is reluctant to sign an extension which may force Dundee to cash in on the player this year.
That would be a shame according to Soutar, who started his professional career at Dens Park before returning for a second spell in 2009.
Soutar and Bain’s paths crossed briefly at Pittodrie where “Soapy” was an experienced pro and Bain was serving his apprenticeship the youth ranks.
He said: “Scott has come a long way since he was at Aberdeen. He was just coming through as a youngster when I was there. I think he had a bit of a rough time up there when he went full-time.
“Aberdeen have been crying out for a top keeper for a few years and they let him slip away.
“He went and played part-time at Alloa before grabbing his chance by coming back to full-time football at Dundee.
“It’s hard to see if he’ll still be at Dens next season.
“He loves the club and loves playing for the Dark Blues. He recognises they gave him the chance to go full-time and I’d like to see him stay.
“You want to keep guys like him and Darren O’Dea and build the team around them.
“But being a footballer is a short career and when clubs are sniffing about and willing to pay you more it’s something you think about.
“There’s no doubt he’s good enough to get back into the Scotland set-up. That’s one thing, though, that Scotland have always been blessed with is goalkeepers.
“We have a really good group of goalies at the moment but the way for Bain to get back in is to keep playing.
“Moving on from Dundee might see that stop if he ends up on the bench somewhere.”
On Friday night, Soutar is backing Bain and his team-mates to upset the travelling Dons at Dens.
Despite a poor recent record against Aberdeen, Soapy fancies the Dark Blues to come out on top.
“Dundee used to have a great record years ago against Aberdeen, especially at Pittodrie but, over the last couple of years, Aberdeen have been strong,” he added.
“Dundee can take confidence from their games against Rangers, Celtic and Motherwell lately and they seem to do well against the bigger teams.
“I think there will be plenty of goals but Dundee will possibly edge it.”
And Soutar is also backing the Dens men to muscle in on the top six.
He added: “At the end of the season you want to be involved in the top six against better opposition with better crowds, rather than have the season fizzle out in the bottom half.”
Soutar has recently returned from Northern Ireland where he is coaching goalkeepers in the national set-up between U/16 and U/19 level alongside another former Dee, Stevie Frail.
He’s still running the Derek Soutar Goalkeeping Academy and working with Forfar Athletic but is revelling in the job as part of Michael O’Neill’s national set-up.
He added: “It’s brilliant, I love it over there. It’s different but they’re a great bunch of kids we’re working with.
“It’s about feeding them into the national team and making sure none slip through the cracks.”
See tonight’s Evening Telegraph for Paul Hartley’s take on the Bain situation.