STEVIE May has confessed Aberdeen might have lost out on his signature had Derek McInnes not still been Pittodrie boss.

The former St Johnstone frontman has returned to Scotland after three years south of the Border and signed a four-year contract at Pittiodrie.

He has been top of McInnes’s shopping list all summer and the Reds boss finally got his man late on Thursday night after handing Preston an undisclosed fee.

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But May admits that McInnes – who came close to quitting the club back in June only to turn down Sunderland – was the key reason behind his decision to make the switch back to his homeland after frustrating stints at Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End.

The 24-year-old Scotland international – who was given his Saints debut by McInnes at the age of 16 – said: “Derek was a big part in my decision. There’s no two ways about it. If he had left, I probably wouldn’t be here. The same could be said for a lot of the signings he’s made this summer.

“I’ve played with six or seven of the guys here with Scotland Under-21s and I know the quality he has brought in. For me that speaks volumes about him as a manager. I don’t think you’d be bringing in that volume if he wasn’t the manager.”

May found himself the hottest prospect in Scottish football back in the summer of 2014 as he ended the season with 27 goals to his name and a Scottish Cup winners’ medal in his pocket after helping Saints clinch their first major trophy.

He was tipped as a potential Scotland star after landing an £800,000 move to Hillsborough.

But things did not work out as he planned at Wednesday and he was moved on to Deepdale just over a year later.

Things did not get much better for the Perth-born poacher as a serious knee injury ruled him out for 15 months.

But now that he is back to full fitness, May is determined to prove wrong the doubters down south who branded him a flop – and has begged McInnes to let him loose on Ross County in Dingwall on Saturday.

“It’s harsh down there,” said May, whose arrival prompted Miles Storey’s move to Partick Thistle. “If you’re in one game and don’t score, then you could be out for three or four games.

“At Wednesday I scored seven goals in 30-odd starts, which for the first season I thought was okay. The amount of times I hit the post, I could have had double figures and then you could have called it a successful season.

“Then at Preston I was just getting started when I had the injury. So it could have gone smoother but I think it’s benefited me. Not just as a footballer but as a person. It’s made me stronger and more focused.

“I’ve been playing and training for seven months since the injury and all that’s behind me now. “I would love to start or be involved against Ross County. That’s the plan for me, to start enjoying my football again.”