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No 'Total football' but the move still adds up

JEROEN TESSELAAR would arrive early.

The roads between St Mirren's training ground and the club's stadium had been negotiated easily, a route that the Dutchman was already acquainted with culminating in an unexpectedly punctual arrival for the first press conference of the new season. His next stop is Fir Park this afternoon.

His return to St Mirren this summer has brought a reunion with an old routine. Tesselaar spent a season in Paisley in 2011 and he has retraced his steps following another brief spell in Kilmarnock, the move to Ayrshire having failed to expand his horizons sufficiently. He has found the changes made in his absence at St Mirren Park to be cosmetic - Tommy Craig has stepped from assistant to manager, erstwhile team-mates have assumed coaching duties, while the style of play has also been rebranded. "I am no longer allowed to call it 'total football' . . . Brian Caldwell [the St Mirren chairman] says," added Tesselaar, once a student of AZ Alkmaar's academy.

St Mirren's inclination to rely on a passing game has survived unaltered since the dismissal of Danny Lennon in July, though. Craig shares those principles and that proved decisive to re-signing Tesselaar when the pair spoke over the phone after the 25-year-old had become a free agent again.

"The style of football I like, it was like that the first time," said the defender, who is expected to be restored to his position at left-back this afternoon. "The first time I came to Scotland I never expected a team like St Mirren that wanted to play football. But it's more in tune with the way I learned the game in Holland. Now I'm back, it's much the same as it was. At Kilmarnock you knew when you played against St Mirren that you'd hope they had a bad day, because they are very good at passing the ball."

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