Jack Ross says Aiden McGeady is in the ‘right place and frame of mind’ after his matchwinning display at Home Park on Saturday.
The 32-year-old has overcome his early season injury frustrations and now has three goals in two games.
Ross knows just how tough the former Celtic winger is to defend against and he was thrilled with his contribution, particularly given that he and Lynden Gooch operated on their ‘wrong’ flanks.
Ross said: “I played against him when he was 19,20,21 and trust me it wasn’t easy to play against him then!”
“I don’t know if he has got better with age, he has always been an immensely talented footballer.
“It is just getting him in the right place and frame of mind and he is there for us at the moment, if you do that then he will produce moments like today.
“He was a little bit frustrated at half time, I’d spoke about us not getting the ball out wide enough. Aiden is hard on himself at times.
“We know if we keep giving him the ball he will produce an assist or get a goal and that is exactly what he did.
“The memories I tell him is that he never did much against me, the reality is probably far different!
“One of the seasons he won young player and player of the year in Scotland, there are only a couple of players that have done that before,” Ross added.
“I know what it is like to play against him as a full back, if we can get the ball to him in good areas we know it is difficult to defend against.
“His attitude and his approach to everything I have asked him to do has been brilliant since I took the job, I enjoy a positive relationship with him and that is reflected in his performance on and off the ball.
“He is one of those annoying players that can play with both feet, take corners with both feet.
“Not many in the game can, I worked with one at St Mirren called Lewis Morgan and he now plays at Celtic, he was the same.
“It is a tremendous thing to have in your locker, especially as a wide player as you can go either way and play him on either wing.
“We played him on his ‘wrong’ side today but he still contributed from that side.”
The FA Cup now means Sunderland and McGeady will have to pause their growing league momentum, but the Black Cats boss is excited to take charge in the competition for the first time.
“Yes and no [coming at a bad time], I am pleased we have a game,” Riss said.
“Sometimes it is not a bad thing [a break].
“We have been on a terrific run, it will give us a bit of freshness.
“I always think the FA Cup gives a bit of excitement to the week and freshness and playing an opponent that isn’t in our league.
“The players will enjoy this week, they will be excited that it is a cup tie and we want to progress in that as well.”