Thirty years after leaving Dundee United as a record-breaking £4million player to join Rangers, Duncan Ferguson will return to Tannadice on Saturday as the Inverness manager.
And Ferguson believes his team, who are looking to push away from the lower end of the Championship, will be taking on opponents who will win the title.
As a hot-shot talent under the late legendary Jim McLean, the teenager rose to stardom with 35 goals in 88 games leading to his big money switch to Ibrox.
The transfer fee of £4million set a new British record in 1993 and remains the highest sale recorded for a player leaving United.
His time at Ibrox was followed by spells at Everton, Newcastle United and back at Everton.
His seven caps for Scotland would have been countless more had he not opted to withdraw from potential selection after the SFA hit him with a 12-game ban following being jailed for 44 days after being found guilty in a court of law for headbutting Raith Rovers’ John McStay while playing for Rangers in 1995.
Ferguson eyes victory at Tannadice
United is where it all began and there’s plenty of things that have happened for Ferguson – and United – over the past three decades.
He said: “It was a long time ago and it is amazing where the time goes.
“I am looking forward to it. I have a lot of fond memories of Dundee United.
“It is a great club, it’s where I broke through. It’s great to go back there.
“I do have fond memories – it’s a fantastic club.
“They had great success under Jim McLean. They won the league in 1983.
“I went to see some games there at the back end of last season. I saw one or two of the boys knocking around.
“We’ve actually organised a wee bit of food on Saturday night after the game, so I might bump into one or two of them.
“It will be great to go back – but even better if we get a result.”
Ferguson proud of his United efforts
When asked to consider those special breakthrough years at Tannadice, he said: “All I seem to remember is I did very well at Dundee United.
“I was a young guy breaking into the team and became the number one striker there.
“They got a lot of money for me, so in that respect I am proud of what I achieved there.”
His first senior game in United colours came in November 1990 against the Scottish club he moved on to, albeit for just one season before joining Everton initially on loan.
He added: “My debut (for Dundee United) was at Rangers, who were undefeated in two years. I came on as a sub and I think we beat them 2-1.”
United ‘are best team in the league’
Since Ferguson replaced Billy Dodds in the Inverness hot-seat in late September, he’s taken seven points from nine in his three games in charge, most recently the 1-0 win against Airdrie on Saturday.
ICT are battling to kick clear of danger and move closer to mid-table, while unbeaten United look to only have Raith Rovers as a potential title rival.
The former Tangerines star, who described Jim McLean as “a great man and a great coach” is in no doubt that his old club are destined for an instant ticket back to the Premiership.
He said: “Dundee United will win the league in my opinion – they are the best team in the league.
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“It will be a tough one, but it’s one we’re ready for. We look forward to it.
“We are proud of getting back-to-back clean sheets. If you don’t concede goals, you are in a good place.
“Then it doesn’t take much to win the match.
“Defensively, we have done really well. But we are up against the best team in the league who are free-scoring, so it will be a tough one but one we’re looking forward to.”
‘We believe we can get a result’ – boss
On Tuesday, United stretched their unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions with a 2-0 win at Airdrie and Ferguson is hopeful Inverness can cause their hosts problems.
He said: “We will give it everything we’ve got. I watched Airdrie play Dundee United and Airdrie did well, as they did against us.
“They had a couple of good chances in the match but Dundee United do not concede goals and are scoring a lot, so it is going to be tough, but it is one we believe we can get a result from.”
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Goodwin wants ‘no distractions’
There will be a lot of attention on Ferguson at Tannadice this weekend, but home boss Goodwin doesn’t want their focus to be lost amid it all.
In answer to whether United’s fans will give Ferguson a warm welcome, he said: “I think they will. He is quite an iconic figure in the Scottish game.
“I am just hoping they will get behind my boys and there are no distractions there.
“But he is well-respected in the game and most of the fans will give him a good reception wherever he goes.”