Billy Reid is not your average assistant.

It is hard to imagine Colin Calderwood, one of his predecessors at the Amex and a former managerial rival in the Scottish Premier League, singing in Swan Lake or performing a self-written rap in front of 2,000 football supporters.

Then again, you will struggle to find a more open-minded 55-year-old than the father figure of Albion's youthful new managerial regime.

The Scot stepped back from being a successful No.1 to forge an improbable partnership with Graham Potter, 11 years his junior.

It has carried Reid, following a varied career in his homeland, from the Swedish backwaters via Wales to the Premier League in England.

Reid's journey to the richest league on the planet is a tale of sheer hard graft, selflessness and unlikely twists and turns.

He had a tough but loving upbringing on the 17th floor of a high-rise block in the centre of Glasgow.

His father was a welder in the shipyards, his mother did odd jobs to help make ends meet.

The game and Glasgow Rangers were in his blood through his mother's brother, Johnny Hamilton, a member of the two-time treble-winning team at Ibrox in the late 1970's.

Reid was a tigerish but, by his own admission, limited midfielder in a part-time playing career with Queen of the South, Clyde, Hamilton and Stirling Albion before retiring at the age of 32.

He turned down offers to go full-time, including one from Dundee, to keep his job with a lithographic printing firm.

The work ethic of his parents rubbed off. Reid thought nothing of working a Saturday morning shift from 6am to midday before driving himself to matches to make sure his own family were well looked after.

His move into coaching and management was launched by a brief caretaker stint at Clyde in 2002.

The Argus: He landed the post permanently in 2004, guiding Clyde to third place in the First Division to attract the attention of Hamilton, where he nurtured Crystal Palace and Everton midfielders James McArthur (above) and James McCarthy.

Reid steered Hamilton to promotion to the top flight in 2008 and seventh in the Scottish Premier League in 2010.

He could have ended up then as a No.1 in Wales, rather than No.2 to Potter eight years later.

Reid's exploits caught the eye of Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins, seeking a replacement for Leicester-bound Paulo Sousa. They had talks but it went no further.

Hamilton were relegated the following year and Reid eventually left in 2013.

An unlikely set of circumstances, centred around recently appointed Luton Town manager Graeme Jones, brought Reid and Potter together.

Earlier, in 2010, when Jones was No.2 to Roberto Martinez at Swansea, he recommended former Boston team-mate Potter to Swedish minnows Ostersunds.

A link had been established between Ostersunds and Swansea after Jones went to Sweden to work with their young players. It developed into a pre-season tour base for the Welsh club under Martinez.

Ostersunds needed a new coach and chairman Daniel Kindberg rang Jones. He suggested Potter.

Reid first met Potter (below) at the 40th birthday party of Jones, who played under him at Clyde and Hamilton before becoming his assistant at the latter.

The Argus: Jones, sensing the potential chemistry between the affable Scotsman and forward-thinking Brummie with two degrees, was cast in the role of matchmaker again. He set up an interview with Potter for Reid, who already knew Kindberg well through Jones.

In four-and-a-half-years together in Sweden they steered Ostersunds to three promotions, a Swedish Cup win and the last 32 of the Europa League, including a victory over Arsenal at The Emirates.

Workaholic Reid only had two days off, one of them to attend his son's wedding.

He also threw himself into Potter's unconventional methods, the much-publicised 'culture acadamy', which took players and staff out of their comfort zone to engage with fans and the community.

That is how Reid found himself starring in a team production of Swan Lake and rapping to his own words in a show about the Sami people, an indigenous group in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia.

The latest production for the Potter and Reid double act is to establish Albion as a stylish Premier League outfit.

They are top-of-the-bill in a cast incorporating thirtysomethings Bjorn Hamberg and Kyle Macaulay, the coach and recruitment chief who were also part of Potter's backroom team at Ostersunds and in the Championship at Swansea last season.

The challenge for the Albion players will be to embrace the vision.

Reid said: "They need to play with a freedom and no fear.

"In the game of football, you make mistakes. If you think you're not going to make mistakes in football, you shouldn't be here.

"We've always been a possession-based team during the time I've worked with Graham, building from the back, hopefully pressing from the front and winning the ball higher up the pitch.

"It's about putting all of these principles in place and working every day to play with freedom. We want the players to express themselves."

Reid is used to doing that.