In football, who you know can be as important as what you know.
But Gordon Forrest believes the fact he and Robbie Neilson were total strangers before working together at Dundee United has made them a better partnership.
Tangerines assistant head coach, Forrest, spent eight years cutting his coaching teeth in New Zealand and Canada before joining up at Tannadice in January of last year.
He and United gaffer, Neilson, quickly forged a strong working relationship, despite never having met each other before.
And Forrest reckons the unconventional genesis of their dugout link has worked in Premiership-bound United’s favour.
“I spent six or seven years in the MLS with Vancouver Whitecaps (before joining United) and had been in New Zealand before that,” explained Forrest.
“When the job in Vancouver came to an end I had a few opportunities to stay in America.
“But we’d moved abroad when my kids were two, three and 12 weeks, so they’d never really stayed in Scotland.
“My wife is a teacher and initially she said she’d give it a go abroad for a year, so it turned out a bit longer than that.
“It was a great experience, you learn loads and working in the MLS was superb – from the players, to the set up and the cities you go to.
“But once it was over at Vancouver I started looking for a job back here and got asked if I wanted to meet Robbie then it snowballed from there.
“We didn’t know each other previously but we had a very good meeting, we connected and it has been excellent.
“In some ways I think just meeting and getting on like that is a good thing because you bring a freshness to each other.
“I think that appealed to both of us because you learn from everyone you work with.
“I’ve learned plenty from Robbie, it’s been a great experience for me and I’ve really enjoyed tapping into him and Lee McCulloch.
“They both played at a very high level so it has been great seeing how they deal with players and listening to the ideas they have.”
United’s management team have done the job they were employed to do this season by leading the club back to the Premiership after four years away.
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown of football leagues around the world ensured United’s promotion wasn’t achieved conventionally.
But while everyone at Tannadice would have preferred to finish their remaining fixtures, no-one is too concerned.
After all, the record books will still state United won this season’s Championship – and by a very healthy margin.
How the Premiership will look whenever next season kicks off is yet to be decided, with reconstruction talks rumbling on.
But Forrest insists United are simply happy to be there after what became an extended stay outside the top flight.
“We’re all desperate to get to the Premiership and everyone can’t wait for the challenge,” he said.
“The owners, Tony Asghar and the coaching staff all want to drive the club to be the best we can.
“We have a good group of players at present and Robbie has said himself there won’t be huge work needing done to the squad.
“We are in a good place on that in terms of the players we have, they were signed to progress from the Championship into the Premiership.
“All clubs are in the same boat with recruitment and budgets right now, nobody really knows what it’s going to look like.
“So it’s going to be an evolving picture at most places depending on what happens over the next few months.
“We won’t get a say in the size of the league – that is for the people who run the clubs to decide.
“People have always said they fancy the idea of a bigger league but finances come into it as well.
“So for us it’s just a case of seeing what happens, we’ll be delighted to kick off the new season no matter how many teams are in the league.”
For the time being, Forrest – and everyone at Tannadice – will have to content themselves with dreaming about next season’s big kick-off.
The current campaign may be over for the Tangerines, but nothing is certain in relation to the next.
For normally active football people, the lack of a concrete daily training schedule can prove tough to deal with.
But for Forrest, whose wandering days are over, lockdown has provided an opportunity to reconnect with those nearest and dearest to him.
He said: “It’s strange having no football and it’s frustrating, but the one positive is being able to spend time with the family.
“With how much we have travelled over the years, it has been nice to just be together.
“From a work perspective, the sooner we know what’s happening the better, but that’s outwith our control.”