It’s not the way he would have wanted it to happen but Dundee favourite James McPake is gearing up to make his debut as a first-team manager.
It may only last one game for the time being as he guides the team through to the end of the season following the sacking of Jim McIntyre.
However, his arrival in the dugout on Saturday at home to St Mirren will be met with approval from a home support that have suffered through the worst season in recent memory.
He’ll be aided by another fans’ favourite in Gary Irvine through the week as well.
It’s been a swift rise through the coaching ranks for McPake at Dens Park since retiring in January 2018 through injury.
Managing youth teams up to U/18s earlier this season came before he stepped up to take the reserve team when Jimmy Boyle was named McIntyre’s first-team assistant.
Now, though, he’s in the hotseat and he’ll be hoping to add to his standing in the eyes of Dundee fans by finishing off this miserable season with a victory.
Here, the Tele has a look at the moments that cemented his reputation as a fans’ favourite on the park.
August 9, 2014
Dundee 1-1 Kilmarnock
After joining the Dark Blues following Hibs’ relegation in May 2014, McPake made his Dens debut as the club returned to the top flight with a hard-fought draw at home to Allan Johnston’s Kilmarnock.
August 31, 2014
Dundee 1-1 Celtic
With Paul Hartley as manager, Dundee had begun the season well and continued that with a home draw against the champions.
McPake had played a big part in that, starting the season consistently, and this match capped it off as he headed in his first goal for his new club just 50 seconds into the contest, though Leigh Griffiths would level matters.
April 8, 2015
Dundee 3-1 Dundee United
The central defender played a big part in the Dark Blues bringing an end to 10 years of derby heartache as they defeated their high-flying neighbours at Dens.
Rado Cierzniak allowed a Greg Stewart effort to squirm under him before Nadir Ciftci equalised from the spot.
Stewart then turned provider, setting up McPake to power his second goal for the club into the net before Paul Heffernan added a third.
That would turn out to be Dundee’s last win of the season but that couldn’t prevent a top-six finish.
August 11, 2015
Dundee United 2-2 Dundee
A pulsating derby at Tannadice saw the Tangerines grab a two-goal lead through two super strikes from Blair Spittal.
However, the Dark Blues fought back with Stewart curling in a beauty with 10 minutes to go.
And McPake sealed his place in the hearts of Dundee fans as he forced in an equaliser deep into stoppage time to level things up.
August 15, 2015
Dundee 2-1 St Johnstone
Just four days later and McPake was on the scoresheet again, this time acrobatically turning in a Kane Hemmings cross to open the scoring against Dundee’s Tayside rivals.
January 2, 2016
Dundee 2-1 Dundee Utd
McPake’s determination had made him a force to be reckoned with in Dundee derbies but this one spelled the end of his career as he dislocated his knee in a horror challenge with United’s John Rankin.
Two years later he officially retired from playing.
And now 16 months further on, McPake is Dundee’s manager, if only as caretaker for a single match.