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JERREN NIXON was Dundee United's gifted calypso kid.

A Tannadice cult hero, the Trinidad and Tobago striker split opinion right down the middle.

World-beater one minute, panel-beater the next, the enigmatic hitman could frustrate and excite in equal measure.

Upon Nixon's arrival on Tayside, his manager Ivan Golac valued him at £20million.

When he quit Dundee United in 1995, FC Zurich paid just £200,000 for his services.

Yet Nixon insists the experience of winning the 1994 Scottish Cup with United was priceless.

He said: "That Cup Final day will live with me forever. Some footballers play their entire careers without reaching a final, but I won the Scottish Cup just a few months after arriving in Scotland.

"Dundee United had lost their previous six Scottish Cup Finals, so I realise how lucky I was to be a part of that team.

"I appreciated it back then and I still appreciate it now. It was the best day of my football career.

"I remember everything about that day. I was scared and nervous because the game was being shown live in Trinidad.

"I was a substitute and I came on when it was 1-0 to help us see out the game. After the ref blew the final whistle, the scenes were unbelievable.

"Nobody gave us a chance, but we believed we could beat Rangers and we made the most of our chance.

"After the game we went back to Dundee and toured the streets on an open-top bus. It was an amazing time in my life."

Nixon starred for United during one of the most colourful periods in the club's history.

Eccentric Serb gaffer Golac succeeded the iconic Jim McLean and United shocked Treble-chasing Rangers at Hampden.

Golac gained notoriety for his crazy management methods. He had learned English listening to Rolling Stones records - and after the hardline McLean regime, his laid-back style was a shock for United's senior professionals.

Nixon admits back then he just assumed every manager was like Golac.

He smiled: "Dundee United was my first professional club and Mr Golac was my first boss.

"He gave me the chance to play football and I just went with the flow.

"At times, it was a bit mad and I now realise some of his methods were unusual, but back then I didn't know any different.

"When he put the £20m price tag on my head, I didn't know what to think, but that was Mr Golac.

"He was a bit different to other managers, but he was a success.

"He gave me so much confidence. I was young and fearless. He believed in me and told me I could be a success for the club.

"I was just a young guy starting out in football when I came to Scotland and I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to the game.

"United gave me a really great football education because in Trinidad, there are no clubs with this sort of tradition. Playing for United was perfect for me."

Nixon, 36, only stopped playing for North-East Stars in his homeland last year and now fronts a soccer academy in the US. He keeps an eye on United's fortunes, though, and has been impressed with their league and cup form this season.

On Scottish Cup Final day, he will use the internet in his Atlanta home to check on the score and expects Peter Houston's class of 2010 to emulate the feats of Golac's men.

Nixon said: "I check the Dundee United result every weekend and I have been really impressed with the way they've played.

"The Cup run has been fantastic, but they have also done really well in the SPL and given Celtic and Rangers a challenge.

"If they win the Cup after finishing third in the league, it would be a phenomenal season. I hold a lot of affection for United and always support them.

"I have two boys now, Jerren junior and Jerrell, and they both play football.

"I have told them all about Scotland and maybe one day they can follow in my footsteps and play for Dundee United."

Nixon is also happy that his old strike partner and United's matchwinner from 1994, Craig Brewster, is still involved in the game.

He reckons the Ross County assistant boss will have mixed feelings when he takes his place in the Hampden dugout.

He said: "Craig went down in history when he scored the winner in the final against Rangers.

"Dundee United had waited so long for that day and he will always have a very special place in the supporters' hearts.

"He was a great player and I always knew he would go into coaching.

"He had a spell in charge of United, but that didn't work out.

"However, he has so much to offer and I'm glad he is doing really well at Ross County now.

"When he steps onto the Hampden pitch before kick-off I'm sure he'll think about that famous goal.

"It will be strange for him, because 16 years ago he was in the place of the Dundee United players.

"Football works in funny ways and I know that Craig probably wouldn't have picked any other opponents for the final."