Little more than 24 hours after the Scot made great play of his concerns over Wayne Rooney's fitness, the striker proved the inspiration behind a crucial 1-0 Champions League win over Real Sociedad.
It was tempting to imagine Ferguson, high in the Old Trafford stands, smiling down benignly at under siege successor David Moyes as if to say, 'There you go, son. Have that one on me'. Certainly, this victory was just what Moyes needed after the further concession of Barclays Premier League points against Southampton last weekend. So, too, was the performance given by Rooney.
Just two minutes had elapsed when the England internationalist slalomed through the Spanish side's defence in the second minute of a thrilling European tie, his eventual attempt on goal being turned into his own net by Inigo Martinez after cannoning back off a post.
Sat in the directors' box, Ferguson would surely have approved, even more so near the end when UEFA announced that Rooney had run over 10 kilometres - well above the team average - underlining exactly how much work he has been doing. "He was absolutely terrific," said Moyes of the striker. "We just want a top player like Wayne to play well. I said from day one that his training was great. I think England have seen that. But we need to see it all the time."
For his part, Rooney was circumspect about Ferguson's comments when he spoke after the game. "He's come back and corrected the story that I put a transfer request in . . . he's gone back and proven that I didn't," the striker said, referring to the Scot's earlier claim. "He's obviously got his own opinion. I've not seen him since he retired and I'm happy under the new management. The other stuff doesn't concern me.
"That's the past, I'm looking to the future now. The new coaches have come in and it feels like a new lease of life. We are working to be successful as a team. We have a lot of players at Manchester United who are hungry. Results haven't been what we want, but we're working to put that right."
The Scot would have been less happy at the sight of his old team passing up so many chances to seal the win. Even without Robin van Persie, United should have been clear long before the end. Rooney had four more opportunities, Shinji Kagawa two, Phil Jones' header was turned away, Javier Hernandez had a goal disallowed for offside and Antonio Valencia struck a post. So, if Antoine Griezmann or Alberto de la Bella had been slightly more accurate when they hit the woodwork, a nervous panic might have swept round the stadium.
"I was frustrated because we had it on Saturday when we lost a late goal," added a relieved Moyes. "If we had scored five or six it wouldn't would have looked out of place. I'm concerned we gave away couple of free kicks on the edge of the box."
Still, none of that mattered when the game was over, the victory leaving United on seven points, just three short of the number Ferguson always felt guaranteed qualification for the last 16. In this troubled start to his tenure, it is a welcome position for Moyes to find himself in.