James McPake admits he feared Livingston would go to the wall when he was captain of the club.
The 37-year-old came through the ranks at Almondvale alongside the likes of Graham Dorrans, Robert Snodgrass and Leigh Griffiths, who all went on to become Scotland internationals.
However, off the pitch, Livi were blighted by financial troubles, entering administration in 2004 and then for a second time five years later under Italian ownership.
Now, as Dundee boss, McPake will welcome his former club to Dens on Saturday with both sides desperate to secure their first Premiership win of the season.
And the manager admitted that the turbulent times he experienced at Livingston are in sharp contrast to the rock-solid stability that American owners Tim Keyes and John Nelms have brought to Dundee.
The manager said: “I had a great time at Livingston starting with the likes of Graham (Dorrans), Snods (Robert Snodgrass), Murray Davidson, Dave Mackay and Leigh.
“However, the administrations were tough. The first didn’t affect us as much as we were young players on low money but the second time when I was club captain and the Italians came in, it was pandemonium.
“They were tough, tough times. We weren’t getting paid and it really sinks in. At that point I had a house but thankfully for me, I got my move to Coventry in the English Championship.
“I signed my pre-contract agreement at the start of December but I never got paid for the two months after that.
“But that’s not the football club now, that was the owners at the time.
“I had been at Livingston from school and there were some lovely people there.
“At the very end when the Italians were in charge I had real concerns for the club.
“I thought Livi could go to the wall. Thankfully it didn’t happen but Dundee is my club now.”
And McPake is delighted that his club is in such safe hands.
He added: “In the years I have been here – and we have gone through a global pandemic and been promoted in a global pandemic – Tim and John have made this a really stable football club.
“If you are talking about being worried whether your wages are going in the bank, then I have never had that here.
“You could say comparing Tim and John to those Italian owners is night and day but it is a lot more extreme than that.”