As the son of former Middlesbrough, Swindon Town and Sheffield United striker Jan Age, Hamilton defender Markus Fjortoft grew up idolising the stars of the English game.
His favourite was David Beckham of Manchester United and, later, Real Madrid. It was a devotion immortalised by a photo of the pair together, taken at Old Trafford some two decades ago.
He viewed Steven Gerrard as one of the most-complete midfielders ever to have played the game, while Jermain Defoe was an explosive forward who played alongside the pair for England.
Fast forward to the present day and, while Beckham’s involvement in football lies in progressing the ambitions of Inter Miami CF and Salford City, Gerrard and Defoe are both very much in Fjortoft’s sights for the visit of Rangers to Accies’ Fountain of Youth Stadium today.
It is not the first time Markus has encountered the pair.
Light Blues boss Gerrard watched from the sidelines as Defoe ran riot when the teams met at Ibrox earlier this season, a match won 5-0 by the hosts.
This time, though, Fjortoft hopes to do less admiring and instead make a positive impact on the game’s outcome.
“When we played them earlier this term, it was Defoe who started and he had a pretty good game, getting a hat-trick,” said the 25-year-old Norwegian.
“He is a guy who has had such a great career and you can see he still has so much ability.
“You can learn from a guy like him, from the way he moves in and around the box.
“It was tough for us on the day, because we thought we could cause them problems. But Rangers were very good.
“Defoe got the early goal and their fans got behind them. It is always difficult to come back from that.
“But it happens, and when it does, you have to reflect on the experience.
“In a way it is nice to see where the bar is set. I have seen what he does well, and now I have to use that knowledge to try to stop him.”
And should Defoe not get the nod, the alternative – prolific Colombian internationalist Alfredo Morelos – is, Fjortoft concedes, equally formidable.
“Morelos came off the bench that day, so we know how good they both are,” he said.
“In this league, the quality of those two guys is undisputable.
“When you are up against them, you can’t switch off for a second or they will punish you.
“If good opportunities come their way, then they are going to grab them.
“I believe there are a lot of good strikers in this league. But the best ones are ruthless, and Defoe and Morelos both definitely fall into that category.”
Facing Rangers’ star pair would arguably be a test for any UK defender. But when your previous experience is in New Zealand and the lower leagues of Norway and the United States, it is a shock to the system.
“It has been a rapid learning curve for me,” admitted Fjortoft, who stands to get his chance today because of a run of injuries and suspensions to team-mates.
“At that same time, I know that I came here to develop and to play on the big stage. That is what I have done.
“I had always aspired to play in front of 50,000 people, so when I walked out at Ibrox I was thankful for the opportunity to play – even though the result did not go the way we would have hoped.
“I am sure that through these experiences, I have improved as a player and I would say I have a great relationship with the club and the gaffer, Brian Rice.
“What I have to do now is kick on and that is exactly what I aiming to do.”