Muhsin Ertugral might have let Gert Schalkwyk go at Kaizer Chiefs because he did not suit the Amakhosi style of play, but the Turkish coach holds the midfielder in high esteem on the field.
He phoned Schalkwyk on Monday to congratulate him after the rejuvenated midfielder steered Celtic to an important 2-1 victory over Ajax Cape Town on Sunday.
The Chiefs mentor also jokingly warned Schalkwyk not to score against them in Atteridgeville tomorrow because he will break his leg.
Could this be a joke or fear of his former midfielder?
Nonetheless Schalkwyk remains Phunya SeleSele's trump card and has the aptitude to score when the reinvigorated Celtic engage Chiefs in a floodlit Absa Premiership contest at Super Stadium. Kickoff is at 8.15.
"Gert is a very talented player and an important member of Celtic as he scores crucial goals for them. He also creates scoring opportunities for his teammates and, yes, he is a player we could not underestimate," said Ertugral yesterday.
"He adjusted quickly at Celtic because they play his style. Celtic play counterattacking type of football that suits Gert.
But we have to win this match to revive our title challenge," he told Sowetan.
Amakhosi go into tomorrow's confrontation smarting from a 2-1 home defeat to Moroka Swallows and can ill afford another slip-up.
Owen da Gama could not be reached late yesterday, but the Celtic mentor told Sowetan earlier this week that they were ready to maintain their momentum tomorrow.
"We might not have been getting the desired results in some of our previous matches, but we have not been disappointing as a team. We are highly motivated and ready for Chiefs," he said.
Chiefs' attack has been strengthened by the return of Jose Torrealba and, according to Ertugral, the Venezuelan is itching for action.
Gerald Sibeko and Thabang Rooi are also back, but the ailing Ibe Zito Ogbonna will be missed.
Kaizer Motaung junior should be a big threat for Celtic, who will also depend on Mark Mayambela in the midfield.