He made an immediate impression as a mighty marauding presence in Scottish rugby more than a decade ago.
And now, Scotland and Lions international forward Richie Gray is returning to his first pro club after agreeing a two-year deal with Glasgow Warriors for the 2020-21 season.
The 30-year-old lock forward has become incoming head coach Danny Wilson’s first new signing for the Warriors, with Gray re-joining the club from reigning French champions Toulouse, subject to a medical.
It’s a long time since he made his debut, away to Ulster in March 2009 as the prelude to starting for his hometown club two months later in a 30-9 win over Connacht at Firhill.
But he went on to make 47 appearances in his first spell with the Warriors over four years, playing a part in a host of famous moments including a last-gasp winning try against Bath in the 2011-12 Heineken Cup.
Gray subsequently spent a season at English Premiership side Sale Sharks following his departure from Scotland in 2012, prior to a three-year stint at Castres.
He has also excelled on the international stage throughout his career, winning 55 caps for Scotland since his debut in 2010, although there remains a sense he has never quite built on the dynamic reputation he established at the outset of his career.
But he is also the most recent Scotland international to take to the field in a British & Irish Lions Test, coming off the bench in the third Test victory over Australia on the 2013 tour.
Speaking to glasgowwarriors.org, he said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be coming back to Glasgow. It’s great to be bringing my family back home, and also to come back to the club where it all began for me. It’s certainly something very exciting for me.
“I can’t wait to come back. We were still at Firhill when I left, and the club has obviously made big moves forward since then. Scotstoun is a great place to play rugby – it’s packed every week and I can’t wait to be a part of that.
“Danny (Wilson) is great – he’s really enthusiastic about the club and is very ambitious. We’re both on the same page and we’re really looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“My focus until the end of the season is fully on Toulouse – I want to try and add a couple more titles to this club’s trophy cabinet. I’ve learnt a lot and gained a lot of experience, and been part of a successful side over the last couple of years. I want to bring that experience back to Glasgow and win titles with the Warriors.”
Wilson added: “During my conversations with Richie, it was clear he was very passionate about the club and he’ll be an excellent addition to our squad.
“He brings a wealth of experience from his time playing in England, France and internationally with Scotland and the British & Irish Lions.
“It’s great news that he has decided to come home to Glasgow next season and we are looking forward to him joining us in the summer.”