Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has revealed he attempted to enlist Gary McSheffrey to his national team's cause during his time as manager of Scotland.
The new Blues boss also tried to buy Damien Johnson when he was in control at Rangers - and now finds both men under his charge at St Andrew's.
McLeish claimed he spotted McSheffrey's talent when the winger was a youngster with Coventry City and says it is no surprise that the 25-year-old has surfaced at a Premier League club.
McSheffrey appears to have been given a lease of life by the arrival of the new manager and scored the first top-flight goal of his career in last Sunday's 3-2 victory at Tottenham Hotspur. He is expected to retain his place in the first team as Blues take on Newcastle United tomorrow and will hope to repeat the outstanding display he gave in January when Birmingham were last at St James' Park.
That was for an FA Cup third round replay, when an on-song McSheffrey tore the hosts' defence to pieces to score the first goal in a 5-1 rout.
For McLeish, that performance and the midfielder's gradual rehabilitation in the past fortnight confirms why he tried to make a Scotland international out of the Coventry-born player earlier this year.
"I have watched the Premier League every week and followed the Championship closely and all the goals through the divisions and saw Gary's fantastic ability when he was at Coventry City," McLeish said.
"I had hoped there was a bit of Scottish blood in there but we missed that boat. I think there might have been, a few generations back, but it was too late according to Fifa regulations. When he went to a Premiership club, I wasn't surprised and it is about Gary doing the right things now and giving himself every chance he can. He can't have any regrets at the end of his career."
Having fallen out of favour under McLeish's predecessor Steve Bruce, McSheffrey says he has worked hard off the pitch and believes Sunday's penalty at White Hart Lane was his reward on it. McSheffrey's team-mate, Johnson, has played even less this term. The Northern Ireland international has been struggling with a ham-string since April and broken down twice after looking as though he had returned to fitness.
His latest comeback is at an advanced stage and, having played two full reserve-team games, has made himself available for tomorrow. But McLeish, who is a long-time admirer of Johnson's combative qualities, refuses to rush the midfielder.
"Damien Johnson could be doing some more training to get some sharpness," he said. "He is the type of guy that, when we give him the nod, he will slot right back in.
"I looked at him when I was at Rangers when he was a kid at Blackburn Rovers. We tried to snatch him round about that time, but we couldn't do it. "What I am cautious of with him is that he has had an injury and a niggle and I want to make sure he is right. We don't want to put him back in and he breaks down again and we lose a valuable player and a lot of the physiotherapist's good work has been undone.
"That doesn't mean to say he won't break down again but I certainly want to give him every chance. He is the type of player in a team that your team-mates appreciate. He gets on with it."
McLeish also revealed he has asked his Arsenal counterpart, Arsene Wenger, about the possibility of extending Johan Djourou's loan period at St Andrew's. He is waiting for the Frenchman's answer.
McLeish will also speak with Martin Taylor after the centre-half's loan spell with Coca-Cola Championship strugglers Norwich City ends this weekend but he refuses to pre-empt those discussions.