Steven MacLean was his mentor and frontline partner when St Johnstone claimed their first ever silverware.
Now Perth attacker Stevie May is relishing the prospect of teaming-up again with the newly-appointed first-team coach.
May is tipping MacLean to make an immediate impression after being lured back to McDiarmid by new boss Callum Davidson to share coaching duties with Alec Cleland, who was holding the reins after Tommy Wright’s exit.
“It’s got to be a good thing that most of the players know Callum and Macca from being here before,” he said.
“Even the lads who didn’t work with them have probably spent time with Callum because he was here for quite a few games last season when he was back up the road from Millwall.
“It is sure to help with the transition and Tommy has left behind a good young squad which finished last season very strongly.
“Callum and Macca both gave everything as players and they will demand that from us as a bare minimum.
“But that won’t be hard for this squad. We have had that drilled into us.
“We finished sixth when it was cut short by the pandemic but who knows where we might have ended up if we had got off to a better start.
“They both know people behind the scenes which should make it all a bit smoother, especially with what we are having to deal with just now.
“Callum has already been through the testing and training with Millwall and that is going to help us cope with it all when we are allowed to step things up.
“That experience with Millwall during this process will benefit us all.
“And I think it is the perfect start in coaching for Macca, coming back into a club he knows so well.
“When there were rumours about him returning I thought it would be a great move.
“Most managers and coaches tend to start off in familiar surroundings.”
MacLean (37) and May (27) forged a productive partnership and partied together when Saints claimed the Scottish Cup six years ago with a 2-0 win over Dundee United.
May teed-up his partner’s late clincher at Celtic Park, prompting wild scenes on and off the park.
While May left for Sheffield Wednesday in a £700,000 deal before spells with Preston and Aberdeen, MacLean moved on to Hearts two years ago and rounded off last season on loan at Raith Rovers.
“I have always got on really well with Macca and Callum,” said May.
“Along with Tommy, they have been big influences on my own career.
“I played up front with Macca in my own most successful season, which was topped off by the Scottish Cup win.
“He is the best strike partner I have had, without a doubt, and the most successful.
“I know the advice he gave me as a player was brilliant and having him back here as a coach will help everyone, but the strikers here in particular.
“He brought me on as a player but the way he played was also important in our success.
“His touch and hold-up play was fantastic. Macca was someone who was really easy to play alongside.
“He took pressure off me when I was maybe a bit naïve at times.
“He let me set-off on the runs. We were both hard working and gave defenders as much trouble as we could with pressing and closing them down.
“Players like Callum Hendry and Chris Kane are really looking forward to working with Macca.
“No doubt he will get us going just as he did as a player in the dressing room. We’ll just have to keep him away from the Red Bull!”