Aberdeen might have lost out on Stevie May’s signature had Derek McInnes not still been the manager.
Former St Johnstone frontman May has returned to Scotland after three years south of the Border with Sheffield Wednesday Prerston and signed a four-year contract at Pittodrie.
Having moved from Preston for an undisclosed fee, May admits that McInnes – who came close to quitting Dons back in June only to turn down Sunderland – was the key reason behind his decision to switch back to his homeland.
The 24-year-old Scotland international – who was given his Saints debut by McInnes at the age of 16 – said: “Derek was a big part in my decision. There’s no two ways about it. If he had left, I probably wouldn’t be here. The same could be said for a lot of the signings he’s made this summer.
“I’ve played with six or seven of the guys here with Scotland Under-21s and I know the quality he has brought in.
“That speaks volumes about him as a manager. I don’t think you’d be bringing in that volume if he wasn’t the manager.”
May found himself the hottest prospect in Scottish football in the summer of 2014 as he ended the season with 27 goals and a Scottish Cup winner’s medal in his pocket after helping Saints land their first-ever major trophy.
A serious knee injury ruled May out for 15 months following his move to Preston, but now that he is back to full fitness, he is determined to prove wrong the doubters down south who branded him a flop – and has begged McInnes to let him loose on Ross County in Dingwall on today.
“It’s harsh down there,” said May. “If you’re in one game and don’t score, then you could be out for three or four games.
“At Wednesday I scored seven goals in 30-odd starts, which for the first season I thought was okay. The amount of times I hit the post, I could have had double figures and then you could have called it a successful season. Then at Preston I was just getting started when I had the injury.
“So it could have gone smoother but I think it’s benefited me. Not just as a footballer but as a person. It’s made me stronger and more focused than I was before.”