PATRICK VIEIRA has dispensed all manner of valuable advice to Adam Drury over the years.
Ordering him to pack his bags and start playing for St Mirren must be up there among some of his more unexpected nuggets.
Yet, the 20-year-old has, as ever, followed the guidance of his superior at Manchester City and believes a season-long spell in Paisley will give his career a fillip at a vitally important time.
Drury appreciates the need to gain first-team experience and listened long and hard when Vieira, now football development executive at the English champions, went into detail on the style and set-up at Saints in an attempt to sell the club to him. The former Arsenal and Internazionale midfielder has visited Greenhill Road to avail himself of the facilities and believes it can serve as a great platform on which his younger players can sharpen their teeth.
"Patrick felt the type of football St Mirren play would suit me and that I'd fit in well here," said Drury, who can play at right-back or right-midfield. "He advised me to come here. I didn't want to go to a club where I wouldn't fit in and wouldn't play, so it's all good.
"Patrick has been up to St Mirren and so have a few other guys at City. He feels the philosophy suits City players and we already have Ellis Plummer here. The fact he has been to St Mirren did help. I spoke to him when the move came up and he guaranteed that this would be a good club for me at this stage."
Vieira cut an intimidating figure on the pitch during the course of his playing career, but Drury talks of him as a father figure for the budding talents within City's elite development squad.
"He's brilliant," he said. "He's won everything in the game and he gets instant respect because of that, but his door is always open if you need to go to him for advice.
"We have one-to-one meetings every six weeks and he will tell you what you can improve on, but you can go and speak to him whenever you want and I have done that.
"At the start, it was maybe a bit daunting to have Patrick Vieira as your coach, but you can learn so much from him and I feel I have improved my game massively."
Drury is in line to make his debut against Dundee this afternoon and believes he has a lot to add to St Mirren over the months ahead.
"I think I will bring a lot of movement to the team," he said. "I am quick and can get at people in a one-on-one situation and put in good crosses."
This afternoon's match also pits brother against brother. Paul McGinn, the Dundee defender, will take on his sibling John, the St Mirren midfielder. Paul admits the house has been quiet this week, as they prepare to face off.
"It's a game I'm definitely looking forward to on my old ground and against my wee brother," McGinn the elder said. "There has not been a lot of chat in the house in the last week. We have just been trying to avoid each other.
"He's been going into his room to hide and watch Coronation Street! He's been tight-lipped and I have been tight-lipped as well. We have never played against each other before as he is four years younger.
"He would try and play with Stephen and me but he was just a wee pest. He was always that bit younger and it would only be when we needed a spare body that he would come in. Even then though you could see how good he was.
"I used to be able to muscle him out but it will be difficult to do that now. He may be fairly small but he is really strong. Hopefully I can get one over on John."