Steven MacLean is desperate to score for Hearts against former club St Johnstone today, even though he still regards their manager, Tommy Wright, as a close friend.
“It does have a wee bit on it because it’s St Johnstone, I’m not going to lie,” admitted the 36-year-old, who left McDiarmid Park for Tynecastle Park in June. “It’s a good game for me and I want to do well and try an win the game. I’ve got a good relationship with Tommy and I still speak to him, although I’ve not spoken to him this week.
“I’ll probably know Tommy’s team-talk. He’ll be saying that they’re underdogs – nobody expects them to win and stuff like that. He’ll be getting them wound up and trying to use the crowd against us, keep it tight.
“Tommy is a top manager, a really good man-manager and he gets the best out of his players. It was difficult leaving because we’d spent six years together – a good six years and we had a lot of success.
“Tommy wasn’t just my manager, he was my mate as well. Well, he wasn’t my mate sometimes! He was like a friend as well so if I ever had a problem he was somebody I could speak to. Even still. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
MacLean has yet to decide if he will celebrate should he find the net today. “I’ll worry about that when it happens. I’ve scored against teams I’ve played with before. Sheffield Wednesday, I was kind of a bit quiet and Plymouth Argyle I gave it big style.
“Sometimes for 30 seconds I lose myself so we’ll see what happens. Let’s just hope I score and we win the game.”
Hearts may again be without injured striker Uche Ikpeazu. Recent signing Sean Clare is not yet fully fit after injury and will be at least another week.