Former Dundee United star Morgaro Gomis was an English non-league to Scottish top-flight success story.
And Craig Levein, the manager who played the biggest part in the Senegal international’s meteoric career rise, is getting a “similar feeling” about St Johnstone’s deadline day signing, Adama Sidibeh.
Gomis’ road to Tannadice and then Tynecastle started with Windsor & Eton, Dagenham & Redbridge, Barnet, Lewes and Cowdenbeath.
For new Saints striker, Sidibeh, his introduction to British football has been with Cheadle Heath Nomads and Warrington Rylands, having started out in Gambia’s top division.
Levein has a history of discovering rough diamonds – and he still loves the challenge of helping to polish them.
“I signed Morgaro from Cowdenbeath,” he recalled. “I think he was playing in a cup tie.
“He was everywhere that day – perpetual motion.
“He did a lot of things that I thought he could replicate at a higher level. His attitude, energy and technical ability all stood out. And as a person, Morgaro is a great guy.
“I get a similar feeling about Adama.
“He’s hungry and desperately wants to do well. He’s going to embrace this.
“Simon Murray is another example of a player who had a different route (from junior football).
“People look at the level somebody is playing and think ‘something must be wrong’.
“I had Prince (Buaben) at Dundee United as well. We got him from a college in Manchester, I think.
“He wasn’t on anybody’s radar.
“I’ve got enough good memories and experiences of things like that to encourage me to take a chance on someone like Adama, who is a really positive person.
“There are players everywhere.
“If you can understand why they’ve got to where they’re at, you find out that sometimes it’s been through circumstances out with their control.”
Levein revealed that Sidibeh’s previous manager, Michael Clegg, couldn’t have spoken any higher about the player he was losing.
“Adama was in England for a trial with a Championship club, I believe,” said Levein.
“Then Covid hit. The story is important in understanding what’s happened. He’s missed a couple of seasons, which got him out of a rhythm.
“He’s finding his way back now.
“For me, it’s about how much improvement is in him.
“Most of the information about Adama as a person came from Mick, his manager – what he’s like as a character and in the dressing room.
“I had really good conversations with him. He was so open. We were on the phone for ages.
“You can see that Adama is a good finisher – and the goals will be the same size up here.
“The story was enough to get me interested and it will now be up to me and the coaches to get every last ounce of improvement out of him, which will serve St Johnstone well.”
Sidibeh will be in the Saints squad for Saturday’s clash with Ross County.
Levein will give captain Liam Gordon “every chance” to prove his fitness for the crucial fixture.