Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes believes Stevie May can resurrect his career after a frustrating time at Pittodrie – but hopes it will not start on Saturday.
May ended a frustrating time at Aberdeen when recently signing a two-year contract at St Johnstone with the option of another added year.
A £400,000 signing from Preston North End in summer 2017, the Dons cancelled the final two years of his contract.
May netted just eight goals in 74 appearances over two seasons, with 53 starts.
The striker, 26, has not scored this year with his last goal coming in a 4-3 loss to Celtic at Pittodrie on December 26.
May will make a quick-fire return to Pittodrie on Saturday and is in contention to start for St Johnstone.
McInnes said: “Stevie had made it clear he was keen to focus on going to St Johnstone.
“He gave everything to try to make it work with us.
“Sometimes with players it doesn’t work out for some other reason.
“Maybe they don’t apply themselves right or don’t commit themselves.
“That certainly could not be aimed at Stevie.
“He was desperate to do a lot better than he did.
“Stevie still contributed for me with his work-rate and the fans recognised that.
“If all the boys you worked with were like Stevie May in terms of how they actually apply themselves it would be easier being a manager.
“That hard work that he clearly has as a player I am sure that will hold Stevie in good stead going forward.
“He is still young enough to go again. I have no doubt Stevie will do well again.”
May finally rejoined St Johnstone, where he won the Scottish Cup, in late August after a long-running transfer saga.
He had previously been on the brink of signing for St Johnstone twice until the deal collapsed late on.
A number of clubs including Ross County, Dundee and St Mirren were also keen on securing the Scotland international.
However, May made it clear returning to McDiarmid Park was his preferred option and the deal was finally pushed over the line.
McInnes insists the prolific goal scoring of Sam Cosgrove meant the best option for May was to move on.
Cosgrove netted 21 goals last season and has already scored 10 from 10 starts this campaign.
McInnes also signed former Motherwell striker Curtis Main and attacker James Wilson, released by Manchester United, on permanent contracts during the summer, pushing May further down the pecking order.
He said: “Sam scored a lot of goals last season and we’re looking for the same again.
“It was fair to say Stevie going out and playing somewhere else regularly was the best plan of action for him.”