Stevie May is not surprised to see his “intense” former strike partner Steven MacLean dipping his toe into management after he was handed the reins at St Johnstone on an interim basis.
The 40-year-old stepped up from his role as assistant following the sacking of Callum Davidson last Sunday and will take charge of the Perth side for the first time in Saturday’s cinch Premiership match at home to Hibernian.
May and MacLean formed a prolific partnership in attack under Tommy Wright in the 2013-14 campaign and were influential as Saints won the Scottish Cup for the first time in their history.
The younger of the duo, who is still a key man for the McDiarmid Park outfit, believes his old colleague is well equipped to help the team get back on track and ease their growing relegation concerns after a run of six games without a win.
“Similar to how he was as a player, he is intense and he knows what he wants,” May said of MacLean’s first few days in charge. “It’s about following what he tells us on the training pitch, bringing the intensity and giving everything we can for the cause.
“We’re all ready to do that for Macca. We know him well, I know him better than most, I know what he was like as a player and he can bring some of that to the management side.
“He brought the intensity to the game when I played up front with him and he always showed what he wanted and how he wanted to do things. There are plenty of players I’ve played with here over the years who I could see going into management and he’s one of them.”
Saints spent the whole of last season in a two-way relegation battle with Dundee before salvaging their top-flight status with a play-off victory over Inverness.
Despite their recent slump, they currently have three teams below them and are five points ahead of bottom-placed Ross County.
“The position’s not ideal but last year we were in a worse position than we are now,” said May. “We can take positives from the fact we’re ahead of a few different teams as opposed to just being down there with Dundee last year.
“It gives us confidence to know that if we can do what we want to do and pick up points, it increases the gap but the gap was bigger a few weeks ago so we know how quickly it can slip away if we don’t do things right.
“We’ve been in a worse position last year so we’ve got that experience and we know we don’t want to be down there again.”
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