Stevie Campbell will always be credited for nurturing a generation of young stars – but insists the key was simply making them have fun.
The 52-year-old Dundonian was responsible for bringing through the likes of Stuart Armstrong, Johnny Russell, and Ryan Gauld at Tannadice while before that he helped Scott Robertson and Paul Dixon make their big breakthrough across the road at Dens Park.
Campbell is rightly praised for his renowned coaching skills but the humble former Dens defender maintains making them enjoy his training drills did the trick.
He said: “I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I’ve been so proud to help the likes of Stuart Armstrong, Johnny Russell and Paul Dixon get on in their careers – to name just a few.
“It gave me enormous satisfaction. To this day, they still keep in contact and they’re grateful for what I did for them – and vice-versa as you need that kind of mutual respect to get success.
“But what I would say is that first and foremost, they all had fun and they still reflect on that even to this day.
“As a coach, if you can make your players smile and enjoy coming into work each day then you’ve got a much better chance of developing them and seeing them fulfil their potential.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of hard work required as well as having the natural talent in the first place – and then there’s how you put your message across on the training ground.
“But I always just tried to make it enjoyable from the start. That was my philosophy.
“I know the stakes are high in football right now, but you can’t ignore the fun part as it’s a vital part of their development.”
Campbell is now focusing on his own academy and is adamant his principles won’t change.
He added: “It’s really busy and I’m loving it.
“There’s a lot of promising young players out there of all ages who just need to be encouraged.
“I had a great time at Brechin. They’re a brilliant club but at this stage it’s just the right time for me to concentrate 100 percent on my own business, and see where it takes us for the future.”