St Johnstone’s Steven Anderson is the first to admit that Owen Coyle was a major influence on his career.
However, the defender is determined to pile more misery on his former mentor when they meet in Dingwall tonight.
St Johnstone face Coyle’s Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium with the Staggies currently rock bottom of the Premiership after their 2-1 defeat against Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday.
There will though be no room for sentiment from Anderson and his team-mates against the one-time McDiarmid manager as they look to build on the last two results that have seen them secure a stunning win at Ibrox and a deserved draw with Hearts at home on Saturday.
The 32-year-old centre-half said: “What do I recall about Owen Coyle’s time as manager of St Johnstone? That is was a successful time for the club.
“Okay we never won the league but when he took over we were near the bottom of the league and he took us up the table and we were challenging for the title. We also got to semi-finals as well.
“He is a very good manager. I rate him highly. He is a very positive guy, he encourages you and he’s good at it.
“He’s been very influential in the career that I have had. I played under him at Dundee United when he took the Under-21s. Then I came here and played quite a lot of games under him for St Johnstone.”
Saints have won their last four matches up in Dingwall and Anderson is determined that run will continue this evening.
He added: “I’m surprised to see Ross County bottom of the league. It is always a tough place to go and it will be again when we play them on Wednesday.
“We do have quite a good record up in Dingwall but records don’t count for anything. We need to go up there and get a result. Hopefully we have enough to get a win up there.”
As a seasoned pro, Anderson is fully aware that sacrifices have to be made at this time of year with no let-up in games.
The player was spending Christmas quietly with his family and he certainly wasn’t over-indulging.
He added: “It’s not tough at all. I’m older now so I am used to it. Plus we get a break in January as well as time off at the end of the season. Those are the times as a football player you can relax.”
Anderson certainly could not take it easy on Saturday with the game against Hearts balanced on a knife edge.
He said: “A draw was probably a fair result. I didn’t think it was a great game and neither team did enough to win it. We had a couple of chances and they had a couple of chances.
“But we are on a good run right now and hopefully we can keep that momentum going before the start of the winter break.”