How rookie boss Docherty has risen to award nominee

Always the bridesmaid, maybe the bride?

Dundee's Tony Docherty has the chance to win the PFA Scotland manager of the year award ahead of his former gaffer Derek McInnes - but how has the rookie become one of the most impressive bosses in Scottish football?

Sixteen years were spent next to McInnes in the dugout, acting as assistant St Johnstone, Bristol City, Aberdeen, and Kilmarnock. Over 750 games side by side. It was quite the apprenticeship for the East Kilbride native.

Then, quite suddenly, he had the top job at a Premiership club last summer following Gary Bowyer's abrupt exit just days after guiding Dundee back to the top flight.

Initially, there was surprise at the appointment but Docherty insisted "this day was always going to come."

Intrigue abounded. He knew the league, he knew Dundee well, but did he have what it takes to cut it as a manager? Could he keep the Dark Blues in the top flight?

Failure to progress from the League Cup group stages wasn't a great start. Two wins in the first 10 league matches wasn't in the script either, even if there were only two defeats in there.

Dundee had plunged down to 11th but the league was tight and they soon cemented themselves in mid-table.

A 4-0 win over St Mirren showed what Dundee could do when they clicked. Docherty called it a "complete performance" and claimed his side were still improving.

It wasn't plain sailing. A 2-0 lead at Tynecastle turned into a 3-2 loss. There was a 7-1 humiliation at Celtic Park.

But Docherty stayed calm. They responded to that massacre with a draw and two wins. The baby hadn't been thrown out with the bathwater, and Docherty kept the faith.

Dundee kept beating teams around them and ticked off their survival target then, with a game to go before the split, secured a first top-six finish since 2015. European football for the first time in 20 years is now on the horizon.

"Derek is a really, really close friend of mine. He's fully supportive, it's totally amicable," Docherty said of McInnes. If either of them win the award, that friendship will remain in tact.