In his debut season James McPake says he tried to follow the mantra of two former Scotland managers – go with your gut.
The Dundee boss was given that simple piece of advice from two Scottish giants of the game, each with links to one side of the city.
Both Walter Smith and Gordon Strachan have links to different sides of a different city but both learned a huge amount in their times at Tannadice and Dens Park.
They regularly pass on their experiences to the younger generation and after a year in the managerial hotseat McPake says he can see the wisdom in the advice.
The Dark Blues gaffer works with Strachan at Dens Park but he also took to heart Smith’s comments during training courses before becoming a manager in his own right.
He said: “Looking back, the big thing that came out of one of the courses was something Walter Smith said, to always go with your gut.
“Gordon Strachan has also said that to me as well, that if you have a feeling in your head where you are not sure about something, then go with your gut.
“Last season, there were a few debates among the coaching staff about who plays in games and I have found that the further along you go, if you go with your gut, even if you win or lose, you can sleep better at night.
“I didn’t play Finlay Robertson when we went down to Tannadice the first time as I was trying to protect him.
“Should I have gone with my gut feeling? Yes, he should have played.
“Looking back over the season, so many things happen that you can only get through experience.
“I can see why at times people would be worried about an inexperienced manager.
“But I still think it doesn’t matter how experienced you are, it is when you are faced with these challenges or tests, it is how you deal with them.
“We have had a few with players that I will not go into but we have also had some very bad runs that have been testing.
“No matter what course you go on nothing can replicate that feeling of losing a game or how important that loss may be.
“No-one can put you in a mock scenario where you have lost three games, where you have a million questions in your head and you are looking for answers.
“Courses cannot give you the feeling where you have won three games in a row, you play the same team again but those same players do not turn up and you get beaten.”