When Dundee United chairman Mike Martin last week announced the club would restore a historic rule from Jim McLean’s era, it sparked a host of memories for former defender Jackie Copland.
The ex-Terror, who played for the Tannadice club from 1970-76, was a defensive stalwart under McLean – who brought him to the club from Stranraer after a spell in the juniors with Beith.
As a young player, Jackie was subject to McLean’s rule that players must reside in the Tayside area while playing for the club.
Something not dissimilar to Martin’s vision of Csaba Laszlo’s squad living within a 25-mile radius of the city.
Jackie, who started and finished his football career at boyhood heroes St Mirren, admits the move will have pros and cons for United.
“When I first moved up to Dundee it was a rule that you had to stay within the local area,” he said.
“The club had a hostel in Broughty Ferry for young players, the likes of Walter Smith stayed there.
“He would stay there during the week and travel home to the west at the weekend, like a lot of boys did.
“I think it was beneficial as it gave the manager a chance to assess the young players.
“It was fine at first but when I became a senior player I wasn’t happy with it.
“I spoke to Jim McLean and, eventually, made an agreement that I would travel up with Andy Gray from Glasgow every day.
“Trying to get senior players to come through might, obviously, become an issue. However, a few guys like Alan Gordon would travel through from Edinburgh.
“It may be difficult, now, to get experienced players to relocate with the commitments they have like young kids and houses – that could cause an issue for Csaba.
“That’s before you even get to the problem of fighting other teams financially.”
Jackie left the club to re-join the Buddies for a successful period in their history from 1976-1983 before moving into various administration roles at the club.
Of the move back, Jackie added: “Initially it worked at United but then it became a bit difficult.
“The manager understood that and he was really good about it before I moved to St Mirren.
“I always lived locally and followed the team so it felt right to move back at that time.
“It’s funny how you get an association with a club and have an affinity with it.
“I enjoyed my time at Tannadice as much as I did my spell at St Mirren.
“Obviously, I finished my career at St Mirren and became a bit of a club legend but I still miss the Dundee days. I’m coming up in November for a reunion with the 1973/74 Scottish Cup Final team so it will be nice to catch up with everyone.”
Of his former sides’ recent history, Jackie has watched United flounder from afar as St Mirren won promotion to the Premiership last season under the now-Sunderland boss Jack Ross.
“Dundee United is a great club and I hope it can be restored in the top league because the fans deserve it.
“St Mirren were going good. It was nice to see them get back up to the top flight.
“Jack did really well and getting an offer like that (to boss Sunderland) nobody could begrudge him taking it.
“Hopefully, Alan Stubbs continues the work and does well next season.”