WE begin with a familiar story.

Late at night, sprawled on the couch with a little too much time to think, the mind might drift back to the one that got away. In the frenzy of the moment, lost in nostalgia, without even thinking, you fire off a text.

"I wasn't drinking!" says Stuart McCall quickly, after a few odd looks are aimed in his direction.

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It all worked out in the end. Henrik Ojamaa flew in to Glasgow Airport in the early hours of yesterday morning to return on loan to the club where he spent a fruitful year and a half picking the ball up in the final third, turning quickly and then driving at the opposition. Motherwell were, as all at the club were happy to admit, looking for a 'Henrik-like' player.

"Coronation Street had just finished," recalls McCall. "I fired Henrik a text off. I've learned to put tears and big doggy eyes on texts! I don't think he could have knocked me back."

McCall found a player frustrated at spending a season playing out of position - on the right side of midfield - and one also left out of the infamous two-legged tie with Celtic after which his parent club, Legia Warsaw, expelled from the Champions League for fielding an ineligible player.

It was the former that rankled most, though, and led to crisis talks with Legia coach Henning Berg. He asked if there would be playing time in his favoured positions, either as striker or just behind, but was told there was not. There was a telling response to why the striker picked Motherwell over bigger clubs that had registered interest. "They know exactly what kind of player I am," he says, simply.

As for the Celtic saga, he covers the subject briefly, if wearily. "We just felt that the punishment was out of proportion to the crime committed," he says. "There was an administrative error. Everyone is disappointed, having played well."

There will be no European football for Ojamaa in any case. Instead, he will seek to fit back into a Motherwell side seeking another implausibly high league finish, on a shoestring budget.

That was stretched, though, to bring in the Estonian and it will stretch to accommodate the signing of Mark O'Brien, the Derby County defender, on loan. He joins training on Monday.

McCall declares himself satisfied with the end of his summer business. Doubly so, given that in the case of the Estonian they beat a few bigger clubs to the punch. "I had several interesting offers," admits Ojamaa. "A few other Premiership and Championship clubs," he added, though he was coy when asked to elaborate. McCall was also giving nothing away, but it was obvious he took pleasure in turning the tables.

Too many times have prospects scurried off to other Scottish clubs who offer more buck for a player's bang. "Others were certainly very keen to get him," McCall grins.

Big clubs? "Bigger than ours! Edinburgh-based? Clubs in the north?" he suggests, though he is quick to add: "Not Rangers. It just snowballed the last couple of days."

Ojamaa becomes the sixth player on Motherwell's books to have spent time away from the club and return. "It's down to the way people are treated here," he said. "You know people are going to be good to you. It's not something you forget; it's not the case everywhere."

There was more to it than that, though. "The text message certainly swayed my decision," he says, with too straight a face.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle await this afternoon and three points are on the line. Ojamaa is ready to play. Motherwell have double-checked the paperwork.