Billy Dodds has waited a long time to be his own man but his time has finally come after Caley Thistle named him as their new head coach.
At the age of 52, Dodds is about to take charge of a team for the first time in his career – unless you include his one game in charge as caretaker manager at Dundee United 15 years ago – but he is far from a rookie in the dugout.
Since hanging up his boots, Dodds has split his time between broadcasting duties and coaching and can list spells as an assistant to Gordon Chisholm at United, Queen of the South and Dundee, and Jim McIntyre at Ross County on his CV.
It is not the case that opportunities or temptation to be a manager in his own right were not forthcoming; they were. It’s just that Dodds had a different career path in mind.
In an interview with the Dundee Courier last month, the former Scotland international said: “I wanted to do it in the right manner. I knew I could learn and pick up so much from Chis and I did.
“I wanted a shot at management, and I nearly did a couple of times, but it wasn’t to be. I’ve just been assistant to Jim and Gordon and Neil (McCann) ever since.
“I wish I had maybe just taken a job on the back of being a player, but I’m still enjoying the game and that’s what it’s all about.
“Playing, coaching and media is the order. I’ve been lucky to dip in and out of all three.”
Dodds loved his time in the Highlands so much he decided to stay there after he and manager McIntyre were relieved of their duties at County four years ago.
Dodds could have taken the helm at Dingwall after McIntyre was dismissed, but opted to follow his colleague in moving on.
He may have been out of the game for four years, but football remains a huge part of Dodds’ life and that is why he could not resist interim manager Neil McCann’s offer to don the tracksuit once more and join the coaching staff at Caledonian Stadium in March.
With manager John Robertson on compassionate leave, McCann had been brought in to guide Caley Jags, but, when Scott Kellacher was also forced to take time off due to illness, McCann wanted Dodds on board too.
As he said at the time, the appeal of the job at Inverness was obvious.
Dodds said: “When you look at the situation at Inverness and what’s happened to John Robertson and Scott Kellacher, I think it would have been very selfish of me not to have taken up this opportunity to help a local club, that’s where I’m at and that’s what it is.
“Knowing Neil, (coach) Barry (Wilson) and (coach) Ryan (Esson) over the years, I’ve had connections with every one of them.
“It was an easy decision for me and I can’t wait to get started.
“It’ll be for six to seven weeks and I’d just like to try and help them out because it’s local to me.”
In total, Dodds’ time at Inverness lasted all of 10 games. Caley Jags missed out on the playoffs, but they finished the season strongly with five wins, three draws and two defeats in all competitions in Dodds’ short stay.
Robertson’s decision to return to Inverness in a new role away from the dugout as sporting director has led to that opportunity coming Dodds’ way once more.
On this occasion, the timing feels right. A new chapter beckons for Caley Thistle and their new head coach.