For those who watched his stunning emergence in the Scottish game, the travails of Duncan Ferguson will never carry less than a gripping allure. He captured the attention with a single moment, a flash of artisan quality that tantalised a future that was ultimately never to unfold. It was a cold March night at Ibrox in 1993 when the big striker, then just 21, was sent out to face Germany.  His display is seared in the memory. Guido Buchwald, one of Europe’s most accomplished defenders was terrorised. While Ferguson didn’t score, the image of him leaping like a salmon in his pink jersey to smash a perfectly executed overhead kick, brilliantly saved by Andreas Kopke, is still vivid.

It was the sort of impulsive, gallus skill that Scottish players don't normally even try, let alone execute with such elan. The grizzled coaches of the time might have implored him to ‘leave that pish to the Brazilian sand dancers’. Duncan didn’t care one jot. He was of a different mindset to the stars of the 1980s, much to his dictator boss at Dundee United Jim McLean’s chagrin. He wouldn’t be restrained by Scottish football’s cringe towards the ostentatious. A star was born. Or so we thought.

So much followed it’s hard to know where to begin. A British record £4m transfer to Rangers seems a footnote compared to the rest. While he remains a hero at his next club Everton, there’s no doubt he underachieved given his talent. Now teetotal for over 15 years, by his own admission many of his serious injury problems were exacerbated by a failure to curb his lifestyle where he had voraciously adopted the binge-drinking culture of his era. His spell in Barlinnie for an on-field head-butt at Ibrox, was unusual for the incident not being alcohol-related - a running theme in Ferguson’s problems. His, understandably, simmering anger at the vicious way the SFA looked to extend his ban to not include games missed while in prison ensured he never won more than seven caps despite olive branches extended from various Scotland managers, including his former mentor, Walter Smith. 

Throughout his career, Ferguson rarely spoke to the media so perceptions about the man were allowed to develop through the thoughts of others, including the idea that he was a footballer who wasn't exactly in love with football.  His obsessive former boss McLean was reportedly bemused at what he perceived as his player's reluctance to fully embrace the game that was to make him his fortune so it was no surprise to hear of his retirement to a holiday home in Mallorca rather than move into coaching. 

After five years of rest, David Moyes brought his old charge back to Everton as a youth coach, a career move no millionaire makes for less than love. Slowly working his way up to first team coaching under managers of truly elite standard, each one considered Ferguson an important cog in the Goodison machine. Ronald Koeman, Marco Silva, Rafa Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti all kept him around, with the four-time Champions League-winning coach valuing the Scot to the extent that he asked him to move to Real Madrid. Ferguson chose to remain but after two spells as caretaker at Goodison he soon decided he would never be given the chance to manage the club closest to his heart.

Instead, he went out into the market looking for a job to launch his managerial career. His first club was typically idiosyncratic with Ferguson turning up at struggling Forest Green Rovers. His record of a single win in 18 games invokes a sense of a calamity but in truth, the League One club were floundering at the bottom of League One before he arrived.  The experiment was drawn to a halt in the summer.

Now 51, Ferguson will be a man in a hurry to prove his coaching credentials. A hunger to succeed can be measured by his appetite to throw his settled Merseyside homelife to one side and up sticks to the other side of the country in the Scottish second tier. And that's just one reason why Inverness Caledonian Thistle's board have pulled of a significant coup in thinking outside the box and convincing him to move to the Highlands.

The Herald: Ferguson in his spell as Everton caretaker managerFerguson in his spell as Everton caretaker manager Off the field, in terms of publicity and excitement generated - the appointment is clearly a masterstroke. Few capture the public's imagination like Ferguson and the interest in seeing one of Scotland's most famous sons involved in Scottish football for the first time in three decades is significant. You can bet that all the major media outlets in the land will be in place at Arbroath on Saturday. Would TalkSPORT be talking to the new Caley Thistle manager in normal circumstances? Would the English media be carrying the news of a standard appointment? The club will surely reap the commercial benefits of snaring such a high-profile figure. This is all very well, but what about on the pitch?

The public perception of Ferguson is of an old-school brute. While understandable based on events in the 1990s, that boy has long since become a man. He completed his Pro Licence a decade ago and has served a proper coaching apprenticeship within an elite environment. He's a natural leader, the former captain of a big Premier League club and someone those who have spent time with him say has an immense personal presence. Ferguson they say, belies the tough guy stereotype and is a student of the game. 

Regardless, his tactical acumen is unlikely to be stretched too intently by the Scottish Championship, a league where football is hardly known for sophistication. While the margins are incredibly fine from game to game, he won't be coming up against inverted full-backs or trequartista here.  Motivating his players properly will be a huge factor. In the EPL he may have looked like a strongman anachronism - here he’s going up against the likes of Dick Campbell. If Ferguson can drill his team off the ball and imbue his charges with belief, he will quickly see his side progress up the league.

It could, of course, go in the other direction entirely. Ferguson may prove a managerial busted flush. Somehow, that doesn't feel likely. Not only will he walk into the Caley Thistle dressing room with the instant respect of the squad, there will also be a fear factor. Much is made of a generation of footballers no longer responding to such management but any leader in football needs an edge. Ferguson certainly has that in spades. I suspect he will surprise a few people with how well he does.

Changing Caley Thistle's path won't be easy, but with Ferguson around, you can guarantee it will be fascinating. Who'd bet against him leaving Scotland with more indelible memories?