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Charlie Adam: Is this a tearful farewell for box-office Dundee midfielder?

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You always feel like something can happen when Charlie Adam is on the pitch.

During his successful stint in England with Blackpool, Liverpool and Stoke City, the Scotland international developed a knack for attempting – and executing – ridiculous shots from the halfway line and engaging in entertaining trouble.

So when he returned to Scotland and boyhood club Dundee, there were high hopes that he could prove a key protagonist in the stupidity of the Scottish game. And the 36-year-old has certainly given birth lately.

There was no halfway effort but there was an attempt on goal from a corner, a ferocious derby leveler and a superb strike against Hibernian on Tuesday to give Dundee fans hope that ‘they might just escape relegation.

Add to that one of the most hilarious dives you’ll ever see and an equally incredible assist from the wrong side against St Mirren on Saturday, we certainly got our money’s worth.

But after Adam’s tearful reaction to his goal against Hibs was followed by an emotional admission that it might be time to hang up the boots, BBC Scotland takes a look at what might happen next.

“I have a decision to make”

When Adam – a player with little involvement at Rangers – left Ibrox, few would have expected the former St Mirren and Ross County loanee to go on to make over 200 English Premier League appearances.

But he enjoyed a fantastic career south of the border, earning play-off promotion with Blackpool before signing for Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool. A season at Anfield ended in 2012 before seven years at Stoke.

A spell at Reading only lasted one campaign, but the opportunity to live out a childhood dream was presented to Adam in September 2020 when he was offered a two-year deal at Dens Park.

The Scotland international was an integral part of James McPake’s winning side last season, and the midfielder has managed four goals and six assists this season. But could his last strike be the last?

“[I had a tear in my eye] because it could be my last game at this stadium,” Adam told Sportsound. “I have a decision to make in the next few weeks.

“I’ll talk to the club to see where they want to go. If it’s to play football then too bad, otherwise I’ll be sinking my teeth into training and management.

“I had two wonderful years, it was great. This is the club of my childhood, I sat on these terraces and I know what it means to be a supporter of this club.”

Coaching role or keep playing?

Whether Adam chooses to retire, re-sign at Dundee or move to another club seems to depend on who will be in charge at Dens next season.

Mark McGhee currently fills the role, but with the Tayside club still likely to face a downside despite Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Hibs, his future is uncertain.

McGhee says he would be open to Adam taking on a coaching role at the club. But the impact he had from the bench against Hibs showed the difference he can make. Is it too precious to waste, or is it time to end a 19-year career?

“Charlie didn’t disappoint,” McGhee told BBC Sportsound. “He went on and affected the players around him and the opposition. His goal was an incredible strike, but that’s not unusual for Charlie.

“He’s a lad from Dundee, he loves playing here and he’s a football fanatic. He’s been in all the youth games, he’s got his hand in that a bit, and that would be his first stop. So , if we can get him involved, that would be something we would consider.”

“Someone like Charlie is priceless” – analysis

Former Dundee manager Jim Duffy on BBC Sportsound

In terms of understanding the game – with and without the ball – someone like Charlie is invaluable. This is the reason why he doesn’t need to run around, he can patrol in this central area or just a bit further forward.

There’s probably a financial aspect to that – it might be difficult for them to keep him in the Championship. But I’m sure there are clubs looking for managers who might think: ‘There’s a player-manager over there’.

I’m sure there will be opportunities for Charlie, I don’t think he will retire.

Former Hibernian & Dundee United midfielder John Rankin on BBC Sportsound

I think Charlie might be Dundee’s biggest influence in years, not as a manager but as a player.

Just direct these players and show them how you can be a good pro, how you can reach the highest level, sharing his experience of what he did and what he did wrong.

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