Gavin Rae's abiding memory of the young Charlie Adam was his constant cocky attempts at scoring from the halfway line.
Audacious long-range efforts have become something of a trademark for the Dundee skipper.
But it was his ability to go the distance on the training field which old Rangers team-mate Rae believes has been key to his recent role in the Dark Blues’ resurgence.
Adam’s always been a maverick with an appetite for the unconventional.
He famously netted a 50-yard stunner for Stoke at Stamford Bridge during a Premier League clash back in 2015.
That wasn’t his first successful attempt from long-range, having also pulled off a similar trick 11 years earlier at St Mirren’s old Love Street home while a young pup at Ibrox out on loan at Ross County.
That hunger hasn’t diminished any now the former Blackpool, Liverpool and Scotland midfielder’s has reached the back end of his career.
It was only a couple of months ago that the 35-year-old was given a rollicking from Dens boss James McPake for rolling out his party trick yet again - this time shanking horribly wide during a tense moment in the play-off victory over Kilmarnock which sealed their top-flight return.
But Rae – who himself served the Dees over three spells - has a shock in store for the opposition fans who have hurled cruel jibes about Adam’s weight and conditioning down the years.
Adam has had to put up with the taunts since his early days but Rae says appearances are deceiving when it comes to his old midfield sidekick.
The legs may have slowed a little now but Rae insists Adam has never lacked lungs.
And he reckons the stamina levels which regularly saw the then Gers youngster outrun a list of high-profile names at their Auchenhowie training base are the major reason why his range of passing remains as sharp as ever now he’s back at his hometown club.
Speaking to Record Sport, Rae said: “Charlie was breaking through at Rangers when I was at the club and we played lots of games together. I always remember him trying to
score from the halfway line almost every game he played. That was standard Charlie.
“To be fair he’s proved it a few times that he’s got it in his locker.
“He had unbelievable ability when he was coming through at Ibrox.
“But the thing that really sticks out in my mind was that he was a very, very fit and athletic boy. He was a machine.
“I know some people might not believe this but when I was doing pre-season with Charlie at Rangers, he was miles in front of everyone else at times. When you couple that fitness with his technique then you can see why he’s gone on to have the career he has and why he’s still playing at the top level he’s back to now at 35.
“You can’t do that without being an athlete.
“It’s great to see him still playing for the club he supported as a kid. I know how much Dundee means to him and that shines through in the effort he puts in when he pulls on that dark blue jersey.
“He is still so influential too because he’s a top player. He’s played so many games at the top, top level and it’s good to see him back at the top level in Scotland now.
“He got the Championship player of the year award and you could see his influence rubbing off on the younger guys around him at Dundee.
“He got an amazing reaction from everyone at the club and the fans when he went back up there and the younger players will take so much from being able to play alongside someone like him. He’s still top quality.”
Rae now lives in Australia having bowed out after his third spell with Dundee ended in the club’s 2014 Championship triumph.
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The 43-year-old - who also won a First Division winners’ medal in 1998 - is settled Down Under, where he mixes his day job as a business consultant with coaching Aussie part-timers Hakoah Sydney City East.
But he hopes his old side can now find an even keel themselves after years of yo-yoing between Scotland’s top two divisions.
He said: “I’m delighted to see Dundee back up there. It’s where the club belongs. Dundee are a big club and should be up there.
“It’s challenging to do that year after year but it’s brilliant to see the club back in the Premiership.
“It looks like it’s going to be a really strong league this year with all the top teams back in and lots of derbies.
“Hopefully it should be a really exciting year for Scottish football.
“I’m just buzzing for all the boys at Dens that they will be back involved.
“It would be ideal if the club could find that stability and have a real prolonged run in the top flight.
“But it’s easy to say that – it’s harder to do in reality. The Premiership is a very challenging league and there are no easy games.
“It’s tough to transform yourself into one of those clubs who become a permanent fixture, who stay up for years on end.
“But hopefully they can build on what they achieved this season through the play-offs and find that solid foundation that allows them to stabilise going forward.”