Leigh Griffiths was just 16 years of age when he sprang off the bench to make his senior debut for Livingston.
On that day — December 30, 2006 — he would be outshone by Gary Twigg, the former Brechin City marksman who notched a double as Airdrie United claimed a 3-1 win over the Lions.
But those who had trained with the fresh-faced, bleach-blond Griffiths knew they had witnessed the start of something special.
‘Sparky’ had arrived in Scottish football.
“You could have put Sparky in the team at 14,” says Joe Hamill, the winger who played alongside the precocious poacher during his entire stay in West Lothian.
Hamill is now player/boss of Musselburgh Athletic and, chatting to Courier Sport during his journey to training, jokes that there will always be a place at Olivebank when Griffiths eventually enters the Autumn of his career.
For the moment, however, he fully expects the Scotland striker to kick-start his career back at Dens Park.
“He was such a threat; a wee pest with an unbelievable habit of hitting the target,” continued Hamill.
“I lost count of the amount of times I’d be shouting ‘what are you doing shooting from there, Sparky?’ and the ball would be in the net by the time I finished the sentence!
“Some people need to do a lot of work on their game — and I know Sparky has improved — but he had the X-factor from day one. You knew he was going to make it.
“He had attitude and swagger, like he was the best player in training. That’s no criticism. The best players have that.”
To believe he was the best player in that Livingston dressing room was saying something.
On the day Griffiths made his Livi debut, he replaced Graham Dorrans.
Robert Snodgrass also featured, as did future St Johnstone legend Dave Mackay, now Dundee assistant.
And, of course, he would go on to regularly line up alongside a certain James McPake.
While Hamill’s regard for Griffiths’ talent shines through, his relationship with McPake goes much further back, having been teammates with Holytown Colts as schoolboys.
Waspish wide-man Hamill would make a habit of whipping in deadly crosses for McPake — an extremely promising striker at the time — as both kids caught the eye of watching scouts.
Hamill went on to turn out for Hearts, Raith Rovers and Leicester City, while McPake would represent Northern Ireland at international level and star for Coventry, Hibernian and Dundee.
“I still remember joining Livingston and saying to Jazza ‘wait a minute, you’re a centre-back now?’” laughed Hamill.
“Jazza would be up against wee Sparky every day in training and didn’t hold back. He used to put him up in the air — he trained the way he played — but Sparky never shied away from it.
“He would always come back for more and it was always a cracking tussle. They had a few right barneys, but that’s just part of football, and there was always a respect and friendship there.”
Indeed, it was during that formative spell where the seeds of James McPake, the manager, were sewn.
Hamill added: “When we were kids, Jazza was a quiet lad. It was at Livingston where I really noticed him coming out of his shell.
“He and Dave Mackay were really close and, together, they became vocal. They were winners; leaders; big personalities — you can see why they are such a top managerial team for Dundee.
“You don’t think about it when you are in your 20s but, looking back, you can see the signs of good coaches developing.”
The bond fostered between McPake and Griffiths has also stood the test of time.
They were reunited at Hibernian, where club captain McPake was something of a big brother figure to the Leith talisman.
That the latest chapter in their relationship begins with the visit of Livingston on Saturday seems fitting.
“Looking back at some of the players in that Livingston squad, you realise what a brilliant side we had,” added Hamill. “It was just a shame we had a few managerial changes and, ultimately, financial issues.
“But it’s great to see both clubs back in the top-flight after their challenges and I’m sure it’ll be a cracking game.”