The careers of Scott Brown and Tam Courts were at the different end of the football spectrum. One was the captain of a Celtic team that swept all before it domestically for almost a decade, the other was navigating his way through junior football towards becoming a professional coach.

But Brown and Courts are good pals and regularly talk to discuss the game they love: it’s their common denominator.

Brown, now plying his trade as Aberdeen’s skipper and taking his first steps in the coaching world under manager Stephen Glass, was a frequent spectator at the games of Kelty Hearts when Courts was a player, then manager, there.

Now in League Two following their promotion from the Lowland League, the Fifers saw him leave almost 18 months ago to become head of tactical performance in Dundee United’s youth academy, followed by a surprise appointment as manager in June when Micky Mellon headed back to Tranmere Rovers.

“I know Tam really well,” Brown said. “I speak to him quite a bit, especially in the last few months.

“Tam’s great. He was at Kelty and I used to go along and watch their games when he was a player, then when he was the manager. He has a fantastic vision and understanding of the game.

“He will do a really good job for Dundee United. He works hard and wants to understand the game. He’s still learning as a manager, Now, it’s first-team football for him. He needs to win games now and that’s part and parcel of first-team football.”

Brown, enjoying his new life in the north-east after 14 years at Celtic, was aware when Mellon left Tannadice that his friend was in the frame for the role as head coach. He had watched how diligent he was – “he was a good centre-half who talked on the park” – and is convinced he’ll grab his chance to show how good he is as a coach.

“I used to go and see him play quite a lot,” Brown revealed. “I was brought up five minutes along the road from where he played and a few of my mates used to play there. It was good to watch them and see Tam. He used to talk about how he wanted to go up the leagues and become a manager. That’s what he’s done.”

The pair will be on different sides of the fence at Pittodrie today as the Dons host Courts and Co. for a Premiership opener that will welcome more than 6,000 supporters.

Aberdeen are on the Thursday-Sunday treadmill at the moment because of their Europa Conference League ties, having beaten Sweden’s BK Hacken 5-3 on aggregate, despite a 2-0 loss in Gothenburg on Thursday. This week, it’s a trip to Iceland and the first leg of another qualifier, this time against Breidablik, surprise winners over Austria Wien in the last round.

So, how are the 36-year-old legs of the 55-times capped midfielder holding up?

“I just keep going,” he insisted. “Try to keep my legs moving. The longer you sit down and stay still at my age, the more you seize up.

“Even on the flight back from Sweden, I was making sure I was up moving about. Stiffness is not great at my age, especially with another important game coming up. I need to prepare as well as I possibly can.

“It has been going well. It’s different because I’m part of the backroom staff as well. My day is definitely now 10 till 2; it has taken on an extra few hours. I’m working for my money now, that’s for sure.”