The two men who will be attempting to outwit each other at Rugby Park used to be young whippersnapping groundstaff at Hearts, back before Gary Locke became club captain and Allan Johnston acquired the nickname Magic.
"Sandy gave me and Lockey our debuts; he brought us through from the reserves," Johnston, now the Kilmarnock manager, recalled yesterday. "I'm sure Sandy will be thinking about that as well, but he'll be desperate for us for us to get a result."
Any such result would sit nicely with last week's. Kilmarnock recorded their first victory of the season, emerging 2-0 winners against Ross County. All of a sudden, the gap to Hearts at the foot of the table looks reassuringly vast. Another win tomorrow would actually leave the visitors worse off than when they started: a full 16 points adrift. Down and out?
"That's not going to be our message," Johnston said, firmly. "The league's still very tight and if you put a run of results together you can very quickly move up the table. There's still a long way to go, both clubs have a lot to play for."
Johnston has sympathy for Locke - who spent seven years at Rugby Park - and for stricken Hearts, but cannot afford to be distracted. "It's a massive club, the fans have rallied round them and I hope they get it sorted out," he admitted. "It's a great opportunity for him [Locke]. He's doing well and I'm sure he's enjoying the challenge but we need to just concentrate on our own game, we need another good performance and the right result."
There was concern last week after Rabiu Ibrahim was taken to hospital after collapsing in the first half. The Nigerian is back at home, but has not yet been given the go ahead to resume training. "We're still waiting for another specialist to make sure he's got the all clear," said Johnston. "He just felt dizzy, and then he's sat down and can't remember the incident.
"At first, I thought it was an injury; I didn't realise he'd collapsed. He feels fine, he was in yesterday, but you don't want to take chances, you've got to listen to the doctor. Take their advice, make sure we're not doing anything that gives him a setback."