Now, two years after John Sutton's head was turned by the flirtatious lights of the capital, it is Hearts manager Gary Locke's turn to pine over the loss of the strapping Englishman. The shadow of Michael Higdon loomed large and stocky in Motherwell this summer, but Sutton has filled it out nicely so far.
Once his Fir Park return became viable as an option, manager Stuart McCall didn't have to be asked twice. "As much as we were disappointed to lose Higdon, as soon as I knew Sutton was available it was a no-brainer for me," he admitted. "Even if he's not scoring he's still causing problems for other defenders. I've got no problem with John going to Hearts. If you're going to double your wages, anybody would. I know he still found it a hard decision. It didn't work out for him."
Sutton's strike partner, Henri Anier, has just returned from international duty with Estonia, alongside the man he replaced at Fir Park. Did Henrik Ojamaa quiz him about how his former side were getting on? "All the time, of course!" Anier laughed. "With the national team, we're together in the one room, so we're good friends. He knows everything that's going on. He's coming to visit me soon."
It is strange that a provincial Scottish club should replace one Anglo-Estonian strike partnership - that of Ojamaa and Higdon - with another that is proving to be equally effective. Last season was a tough act to follow, though. "It was a big pressure," Anier admitted. "Henrik did really well, Higdon was top goalscorer, but now we've got Sutton. He's great - on the pitch and off the field. We're really happy to have him here.
"From the first day we started to train together and we're improving day by day. He's bigger, drops the ball, links the ball. I can run behind the defence and he can flick it on. I think we can have a great partnership."
Anier admitted that life in a league where only one team can realistically win the title was a little odd. "I've never experienced that before," he said. "It's a bit strange, but Celtic are a higher class. I'm really looking forward to my next game with them, we can take them on, I think."
For now, though, that can wait. Hearts' band of merry youngsters arrive at Fir Park today eager to slice further into their 15-point penalty for entering administration.
McCall is well aware of the threat they pose. "I've looked at a lot of their games and there's no doubt they've been unfortunate with the things that have gone against them," he said. "They should and probably could have had more points than they do at this point in time.
"There's never any fear in young lads. They've got energy, commitment and what they lack in experience they make up for in energy and willingness. They're more than capable of causing us problems. We've got to do what we're good at and be on the front foot from the first kick."
In recent weeks, the visitors have reduced the deficit on fellow strugglers Kilmarnock to 10 points, with the two teams scheduled to face each other next week in Ayrshire. "I'm desperate to rein in Killie," admitted midfielder Ryan Stevenson, who once played for the Rugby Park side's rivals, Ayr United. "We would take anyone - Kilmarnock, St Mirren, Ross County - whoever is down the bottom we need to try and latch on to them.
"It's Kilmarnock just now and it's nice as an Ayr fan to see them down there and I would be very happy if we could bypass them. We are five points into the 15. There have been disappointing results and we could be better off but we've cut into that figure and we hope to cut into it even further in the weeks ahead."
Hearts have included Scott Robinson in their squad today, after the midfielder was forced to apologise to Locke for claiming he was "picked on" by the manager after being substituted at half-time during a defeat by St Mirren this month.
Stevenson insisted he was sure that Robinson will have learned from his mistake. "Everyone in the heat of the moment says stuff they probably don't realise the full effects of," he said. "He's a passionate boy and he will learn from it. No one likes being brought off at half-time. But the one thing you can be sure of with Scott is that he will give 110%."