Brechin City manager Darren Dods admits working with Dick Campbell at Forfar helped prepare him for life as a manager in the lower leagues.
Despite turning 41 in July, the former Dundee United, Hibernian and Inverness defender is still registered as a player at Brechin but is yet to make an appearance this season and is simply enjoying cutting his teeth as a coach.
Last season, Brechin finished in seventh position and flirted with relegation for much of the campaign.
But since then Dods has managed to turn things around somewhat, and City currently find themselves sitting third after six matches – just two points off Ladbrokes League 1 leaders Alloa.
And the experience of playing as a part-time player at Forfar between 2013 and 2015 seems to have played a big part in his education.
Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes News, Dods said: “Obviously we didn’t want to be isolated at the bottom of the league like we were last season, but we probably thought we’d have a few wins on the board and be mid-table just now, so it’s been better than we expected.
“Now we want keep ourselves in that top three, top four conversation.
“When I came towards the end of my career I thought ‘I’ll do my coaching badges and see what happens after that,’ so that I always had an option there.
“But I was never sure how it was going to pan out – if it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen.
“As I came towards the end of my career, though, I wanted to give it a try more and more and, fortunately, I managed to get the job at Brechin – and it’s been brilliant so far.
“I think if I’d just come straight from full-time football, I would’ve found management in the lower leagues tougher but my two years at Forfar gave me a really good insight into how part-time football works.
“Obviously a lot of players have to combine jobs and often arrive after work, and things come up like you wouldn’t believe – weddings, family holidays – so that was a really good insight.
“Also, working under Dick Campbell as well. He worked at part-time clubs for years and I saw the way he deals with it and the problems it can throw up. Last year, obviously being player/manager and playing week in, week out whilst managing was pretty tough, but we managed to soldier through and managed to stay up.
“I’ve been on the bench a few times this season but fortunately I’ve not had to come on and I’ve been able to watch from the side, which is easier.”
Whilst Brechin have got off to a promising start, Dods isn’t getting too carried away, and insists he just wants to learn as much as he can and progress over each season.
He added: “Things weren’t looking great for long spells last season, so I’m just trying to get a good season under my belt and try and progress each year.
“Obviously I want to try and progress Brechin and see how far we can go here.
“You’re never sure what will happen – a few bad results and people are saying you’re under pressure. That’s just the way it goes, but obviously gaining experience is important.
“Some managers have been doing it for 800 games, but I’ve been doing it for 50. Let’s just see what happens.”
Brechin City take on Peterhead at home this weekend, as they look to keep the pressure up on Alloa and Livingston.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing