Dundee FC are delighted to announce the signing of Gavin Rae, the fans favourite returns to The Club for his third spell in Dark Blue ahead of the 2013/14 season.
The midfielder has spent the last season and a half as a regular in the Aberdeen starting eleven and became a free agent at the end of May. Prior to that Gavin had returned to Dens for a short spell which coincided with a change in fortunes in a season that had started poorly, but which would eventually see Dundee finish in 2nd place - a position which was enough to secure promotion to the SPL.
Gavin made his debut for Dundee as a substitute for Andy Cargill in a 1-0 win against Hamilton at Firhill on 23rd March 1996 and got his first start a week later in a 1-1 draw with Morton at Dens.
His first goal for The Club came in a 2-0 win over Falkirk in December of 1996, a goal that ended a five game run of games when Dundee had failed to find the net. Ten days later he was on target again as the Dark Blues ran riot at Bayview with a 7-1 win over East Fife.
Gavin appeared in 18 games that season, but John McCormack's appointment as manager following the departure of Jim Duffy to Hibs looked as if it could spell the end of his time at Dens.
We spoke to Gavin that summer and he told us that he'd trained pretty much every day over the close season to give himself the best chance of reviving his Dundee career. It was hard work which paid off.
A poor start for Dundee at the start of the new SPL season eventually saw Jocky give Rae a chance. He came off the bench as Eddie Annand scored an injury time penalty against Celtic to gain Dundee's first point of the campaign four games into the season. The following week Gavin started as Dariusz Adamczuk struck twice to win at Hearts.
The following Thursday Dundee's official website went live and we had the pleasure of reporting Gavin's career as he went on to become a regular during his time at Dens.
His one goal that season came in a 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen, but 30 league appearances as Dundee finished fifth in the SPL showed he had established himself in the starting eleven.
1999-2000 saw Gavin miss just one game as Dundee came close to back to back fifth place finishes - defeat on the final day to Aberdeen seeing them slip to seventh in the table. That season brought some great memories though - not least Gavin's frenzied dash to celebrate with the away support after his 93rd minute winner at Ibrox in November, one of five goals he scored in that campaign.
The Bonetti revolution swept into Dens at the end of that season. Initially Gavin looked to have been discarded, not even on the bench for the first three games of the season and dropped again after a couple of appearances. Gavin contemplated asking for a move but decided once again to fight for his place, and when he got back in the team he proved hard to shift, never looking out of place, and the perfect complement to the talent of Georgi Nemsadze in the centre of the Dens midfield.
It was a season too in which he made his international breakthrough - winning a first cap for Scotland in a 1-1 with Poland in Bydgoszcz, the first of eight caps during his time at Dens. He'd go on to win six more after leaving The Club.
Four more goals in that season were followed by six in Bonetti's second, and final, season in charge. The first of them in a 2-2 derby draw at Tannadice. That season Gavin made 46 appearances in all competitions.
Jim Duffy returned to Dens Park as manager in the summer of 2002 and with much of the talent from the Bonetti era at his disposal Duffy took The Club to their first Scottish Cup final in 39 years. Rae was again prominent, playing over 40 games and knocking in five goals - including the clincher in the third round win at Firhill, and the opener in a midweek 3-0 win over Hibs when Dundee simply dazzled.
That would be Gavin's last full season at Dens, but there was no public hint of the horror which was about to unfold for The Club as the new campaign kicked off with Rae firing home the opening goal of the season in a 3-0 win at Motherwell.
Five days later he and Nemsadze ran the show on the European stage as Dundee became the only Scottish side to date to have ever won a competitive match in Albania. A fortnight later Gavin scored probably the best goal of his career at Dens with a spectaculare volley from the edge of the box as the Dark Blues won the second leg against KS Vllaznia at a canter.
Gavin would score just one more goal for the Dee in a 2-2 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle at the start of October. Just over a month later came the news that Dundee were going into administration. Gavin had just played for Scotland in a European Championship play-off in Holland when the news became public and when the transfer window opened at the end of the year he was on the move to Rangers, his move providing vital funds as The Club fought for its life.
Three years at Ibrox were followed by four at Championship side Cardiff City where he was a regular as City reached Wembley and the FA Cup final in his first season.
He returned to Dens in October 2011 for a three month spell, scoring four goals in fifteen appearances and helped revive a season where the Dark Blues had not had the greatest of starts. Highlight of that spell was probably a 6-1 win at Hamilton, Gavin scoring the last goal of that rout of the Accies, showing he could still turn in the sort of displays which Dundee fans remembered from his first spell at The Club, and which had earned him a fine career both North and South of the border.
Aberdeen offered him a deal as his short term contract at Dens ended, and the pull of his hometown club proved too strong, The Dons had him on their books as a schoolboy, but had allowed him to leave, and he wanted the chance to pull on the shirt of the club he'd supported as a boy.
Once at Pittodrie he showed he could still do it at the top level of Scottish football and in his year and a half there he played forty seven times, scoring four goals.
New Dons manager Derek McInnes released pretty much a whole team of players as he sought to put his own mark on the Aberdeen squad and Gavin was amongst them, his loss is Dundee's gain as Gavin returns to Dens for a third spell at the club.
Welcome back Gavin.