Scott Brown saw at close quarters how good Stevie May is and he reckons with more luck the striker could have been starring in the English Premier League by now.
Peterhead midfielder Brown played alongside new Don May during the 2013-14 season at St Johnstone.
During that campaign the striker netted 27 goals and was the standout player for the Perth side as they won the Scottish Cup for the first time in their history and finished sixth in the Premiership.
For May, a big money switch to Sheffield Wednesday in the English Championship followed.
After a year in Yorkshire he moved to Preston North End, but his time with the Lancashire outfit was marred by a career-threatening knee injury which kept him out of the game for 14 months.
May, who looked impressive during his Dons debut in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Ross County in Dingwall, has had to wait to seal a move to Pittodrie.
The Reds looked set to sign him at the end of June, but manager Simon Grayson leaving Deepdale for Sunderland threw a spanner in the works.
And when former Hamilton Academical and Norwich City boss Alex Neil was appointed in early July the deal appeared to be dead because Neil had played with and managed the 24-year-old during the 2012/13 season when he was on loan at the Lanarkshire outfit.
But last week Aberdeen managed to finally get their man with May leaving Preston, despite Neil wanting to keep him, because they could not guarantee him a regular place in the team.
Brown thinks that May will be worth the wait for the Dons, and he reckons with a bit more luck the attacker could be starring in the English Premier League by now.
He said: “Stevie wanted to get in the Preston team but when it didn’t appear he would be first choice he has moved.
“It surprised me a bit because I thought it might have helped him knowing Alex Neil from Hamilton.
“Stevie has got absolutely everything you need to be a top striker.
“He’s quick, he’s strong and he scores bags of goals, what more could you ask for?
“He also produces moments of brilliance but he’s such a good all-round player that you wouldn’t really expect anything less of him. “He has left Preston to try to get regular football and he is somebody who is more than good enough to play in the Championship or the Premier League.
“Playing down in England in leagues such as the Championship – and lower – isn’t as hard as some games you play in Scotland. “So for Stevie to have scored 27 goals in that season for St Johnstone was fantastic, and if he can replicate that sort of form with Aberdeen there is no reason why he couldn’t carry that back down south to the Championship or Premier League in years to come.
“He certainly has all the attributes and he has time on his side, so I don’t see why in the future he couldn’t go back down to England and be a real success.
“Obviously his first priority is doing well and scoring goals for Aberdeen and I think he will if he gets a good run in the team and stays injury-free.
“And I have absolutely no doubt that he will be an outstanding player.
“I think he will be in the top three or four goalscorers in the league, if not first or second. “I think every club in Scotland would have taken him if they had the opportunity to sign him – so it’s a massive signing for Aberdeen and another step in the right direction for where they want to be going.
“He will improve them massively.”
One of May’s finest moments for St Johnstone was scoring twice against the Dons in the 2014 Scottish Cup semi-final to knock them out as the Saints went on to win it.
Brown remembers that day at Ibrox well and added: “He was massive that year. He almost carried us through in that semi-final. I was on the bench that day and I remember thinking that he had single-handedly led us to the final.
“Aberdeen didn’t actually play too badly that day but it just shows you what two pieces of brilliance can do.
“I’m sure he can replicate that kind of form playing for Aberdeen and I’m sure he’ll be a great signing for them.”