Livingston new boy Ricki Lamie is pinching himself as he prepares to line up alongside boyhood hero Kenny Miller.
The defender, who grew up a Rangers fan, has been on the receiving end of some light-hearted stick from friends and family over an interview he gave last year in which he described the Lions’ new player-boss as his footballing idol.
But the 25-year-old summer signing is not ashamed to admit working with the former Ibrox ace is already making him a better player just a few weeks after joining Livi from Morton.
Now as he gears up for his first season in the Ladbrokes Premiership, he believes Miller’s guidance can help him make the grade in Scotland’s top division.
“That interview has been mentioned by my brother and a mate already funnily enough. It’s not surfaced in the dressing room thankfully but I’m sure someone will get hold of it.
“But to be fair, I watched the gaffer when I was younger and now getting to play alongside him every day is another feather in my cap and shows how far I’ve come.
“I find myself pinching myself that I’m playing with someone of his experience and calibre.
“Even just training alongside him every day is helping to prepare me for what I’ll be up against each week in the Premiership, especially as a defender. It’s magic.
“He has so much nous and experience and learning how he operates can only sharpen me up to take on some of the other top strikers I’ll come up against.
“His coaching is also top notch too so we’re getting the best of both worlds in terms of his playing ability and his work on the training ground.”
Newly-promoted Livi are giving Lamie his big break in the Premiership but the defender is confident stage fright will not affect his side when they take on Brendan Rodgers’ seven-in-a-row champions in today’s big kick-off at Celtic Park.
He said: “I started my career out with Airdrie in League Two and have worked my way up. I won League One with Morton and then spent the last couple of years in the Championship but all through my time in the lower leagues I’ve had that self-belief that I can go test myself in the top flight and do well.
“Now I’ve got that chance and I’m still absolutely confident that me and the rest of the boys in the team can do just that.
“If we can put our minds to it, I’m sure we’ll show we’re up for the challenge.
“Obviously Parkhead isn’t the easiest place to kick-off the campaign but the confidence is bubbling away and we will go into the game full of positivity.
“We’re taking a step into the unknown in terms of the challenges we’ll face in the Premiership. We would be naive to go into the league season putting any major expectations but I think that’s a good thing as we’re playing without pressure.”