Brian Graham will line up for Ross County against his former manager Neil Lennon tomorrow and he still feels on edge from his first meeting with the Hibernian boss.
Lennon made Graham one of his first signings after taking over at Easter Road in 2016, which ended the striker’s first spell with the Staggies.
Graham enjoyed a successful campaign with the Edinburgh club, who he helped to win the Championship title before he left to join English League Two club Cheltenham Town last summer.
The 30-year-old reflects fondly on his season working under Lennon, but says the former Celtic and Bolton Wanderers manager kept him firmly on his toes from day one.
Graham said: “I signed on the Friday, and we were playing St Mirren on the Sunday. I hadn’t met the manager yet, I’d just spoken to him on the phone because it was late at night I signed.
“We met at the Dakota hotel pre-match, we were all sitting there but the manager wasn’t there so everybody was lively.
“He walked in the door and you could have heard a pin drop. The presence of the man was a joke, I just knew from that minute on I had to screw the nut here.
“The presence he’s got is ridiculous, everybody just looked up to him, I think we were all scared to come out of turn. I saw it in the dressing room a couple of times after a game when he wasn’t too happy.
“But at the same time he looked after the players. He had a great bond with the players. There was one time when I think we drew at the weekend and we had a meeting on the Monday morning. He told everybody to bring £20, and for everyone to tell their partners they were going out for a meal with the boys. We all went in with £20, and the gaffer took us for a three-course meal and a few drinks and he sorted the bill. It was a great team spirit day.
“He put demands on everybody, he knew when to tell you if things weren’t right, but he also knew how to pick you up which is a great trait to have as a manager. I really enjoyed working for him and Garry Parker. They were great, they bounced off each other. I just loved my time there.”
Having returned for a second spell with County earlier this month, Graham is hoping to get the nod to face his former club in tomorrow’s Betfred Cup second round tie.
Graham is relishing the chance for the Dingwall men to test themselves against Premiership opposition, adding: “They are flying high in the Premiership and have done well in Europe. It’s going to be a good challenge for us to see where we are.
“We have obviously started well in our league, but we have got a good squad in here. We’re not going there just to roll down to Hibs because they are Hibs, we’re going there to win the game.
“It’s a cup game, and as we’ve shown in the past anything can happen in the cup.”