James McPake says being able to lean on the experience of Gordon Strachan and Jimmy Nicholl convinced him to take the Dundee job.
Nicholl has left his coaching role at St Mirren to assist new manager McPake, with former Scotland boss Strachan set to arrive in an advisory capacity.
McPake has been tasked with returning the club to the top flight after this season’s relegation.
“Jimmy was the one I was always wanting to bring in,” the 34-year-old said.
“We had to wait until St Mirren got over the line in the play-offs but I certainly wouldn’t have been coming if I couldn’t have brought Jimmy. That is how important he was to me. I never really thought of anybody else.
“I didn’t need to take the job. I didn’t want to take it if it wasn’t right. Getting Jimmy over the line, that was when it felt right. We were delighted we could get that done.”
McPake has signed a rolling contract in his first managerial role after progressing from club captain to coaching the youth and reserve teams.
He says Strachan has been mentoring him for months, including the build-up to the final game of the season against St Mirren when he was installed as caretaker manager after Jim McIntyre’s sacking.
“I’ve been speaking to Gordon for the last four months,” McPake said. “I spoke to him about the first-team job and how to handle things that week.
“He was great for me when I was working in the academy as well. Just asking him for advice and putting things to him.”
Managing director John Nelms took guidance from Strachan over the vacant manager’s position and talks are ongoing over a role for him at the club.
“Gordon is great,” Nelms said. “There were five or six that we spoke to who gave advice. Gordon gave us a lot of time and gave us advice on things to look at.
“He loves Scottish football and wants to share his knowledge so we are absolutely going to listen.”