Stevie May spent a frustrating three years struggling to make an impact at first Sheffield Wednesday then Preston North End but within 180 minutes of being reunited with Derek McInnes the striker already looks back to the sort of form that earned a crack at English football in the first place.
He might have failed to score in the win at Dingwall last weekend but May needed just 11 minutes of his home debut to score his first goal in the Premiership since claiming St Johnstone’s in a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie in April 2014.
Back then he was vilified by the Aberdeen supporters, especially after scoring the two goals that eliminated his current club at the semi-final stage of the Scottish Cup that season, but instantly earned hero status with them here.
Any doubts about that were completely blown away when he scored a scorching winner 11 minutes from the end to maintain the Dons’ 100 per cent winning start to the domestic season and earn an ironic and endearing chorus of the old chant: “who the **** is Stevie May”.
That amply illustrated why McInnes, who gave May his senior debut as a 16-year-old at the Perth club, was willing to pay Preston North End £400,000 to be reunited with a striker who looks likely to keep even a fit again Adam Rooney on the bench in the weeks ahead.Of course the club’s most reliable marksman in recent years also benefited in a similar fashion when the Aberdeen manager rescued Rooney from an equally disappointing spell south of the Border.
If the return from May, who only scored eight goals in those three injury-hit seasons in England, proves to be just as productive then the Dons might yet confound their own realism and push Celtic that bit closer for the prizes this season.
The striker has promised not to disappoint and said: “The win was the most important thing but it was great to get two goals in my first game in front of the home fans.
“The first goal for any striker is the most important of all as it is a weight off my shoulders and I can kick on and enjoy myself here.
“Goals are something that I was accustomed to scoring regularly in Scotland and they weren’t as regular in England which was a frustrating time with injury.
“I am only going to get sharper as the season progresses as I need more game time so it’s a good start but there is a lot more to come.”
Aberdeen certainly needed something special to defeat Dundee for a seventh successive time as they were far from their best against a spirited side whose manager, Neil McCann, must wonder what he’s done to deserve so much bad luck.
For example, while McInnes was able to leave Greg Stewart, Kari Arnason, Jayden Stockley, Scott Wright and Rooney on the bench, injuries forced his Dens Park counterpart to start with a back four whose average age was under 22.
They struggled early on but all Aberdeen had to show for all their first-half possession was May’s intelligent looping backwards-header from a Greg Tansey corner that arched over Scott Bain in the Dundee goal.
Then just when it looked like they would take a precious first point of the season after Roarie Deacon’s second-half equaliser, May struck while Dundee were down to nine men as Marcus Haber and Faissal El Bakhtaoui were off the field having been injured in the previous attack.
They now join a lengthy injury list that McCann will have to cope with as he approaches fixtures at home to Hibs and a visit to Ibrox which doesn’t immediately seem to give much room for encouragement.
“It’s a sore one to lose a game of football in that way. It’s so hard to take losing a goal when we were down to nine men,” said a frustrated McCann.”I felt we should have kicked the ball out of play and empty it so we could get our subs on but we kept it alive. I felt the boys (substitutes) were ready to go on but it was all happening that fast as I was trying to organise things but the referee wanted the throw-in to be taken.
“We will go again, there is no panic and I believe we should be looking at having three points but if you don’t take chances in this game then you get nothing.”
The Dundee manager’s journey south wasn’t made any less painful by the knowledge that James Vincent in the first half, and Scott Allan in the second period, missed the sort of simple chances that may well have brought a tangible reward.