Ruud van Nistelrooy’s success has provided the motivation for Dundee striker Fabian Caballero to also fight back from a serious injury.
The Argentinian spent most of last season on the sidelines after damaging knee ligaments in a derby game against Dundee United and he had to go under the surgeon’s knife.
His doctor warned him it could take up to a year to return to full fitness and he admits he is only now nearing the standard he was at before the injury.
Manchester United forward van Nistelrooy suffered a similar injury before his switch from PSV Eindhoven to Old Trafford.
The Dutchman is now the Barclaycard Premiership’s joint-top goalscorer, and Caballero has taken heart from van Nistelrooy’s progress.
‘‘Of course van Nistelrooy is one of the best strikers in the world,’’ said Caballero.
‘‘I am very happy for him and when I look at him I take a bit of comfort. The doctor told me I would need a lot of hard work to get back to where I was.
‘‘It’s not going to be easy, but seeing people like him come back from injury is heartening.
‘‘I am feeling better and I am getting my strength back.
‘‘After the operation I was told that there would initially be good periods and bad periods but that it would take about a year to get back to where I was.
‘‘Every time I spoke to a player who had been through the same thing he would tell me the same thing when you start playing you don’t get back to where you were for some time.’’
Caballero was on target as Dundee drew 2-2 with Dunfermline at Dens Park last night.
He followed up Gavin Rae’s opener as the home side made a sensational start to take a 2-0 lead after just six minutes.
But the Pars hauled themselves back into the game through a Scott Thomson penalty and, despite the dismissal of Stevie Crawford, they earned a share of the points when Barry Nicholson nodded home an injury-time equaliser.
Caballero admits dropping two points took the shine off his goal.
He said: ‘‘I am only half happy because we threw away three points that we could have had in our pockets.
‘‘The truth is that my goal didn’t serve much of a purpose because we didn’t get the three points that I wanted.
‘‘I am very disappointed because it seems to be a disease that we have to concede goals towards the end.’’
The Dens Park striker admits Dundee are making a habit of dropping vital points late in games.
But he insists their punishing fixture schedule in recent weeks could have contributed to those disappointing results.
He added: ‘‘I wonder if it’s to do with concentration and physical condition because of the many games we are playing.
‘‘We should look at ourselves to see what the problem is.
‘‘But, from my own point of view, I can only think that the fact we’re playing so much doesn’t help because you need to be fresh and have plenty of strength and most of the lads are feeling tired.’’