Steve Cotterill spoke of his affection for Burton Albion and said he will "never forget" his time at the Brewers after seeing his Birmingham City defeat them in the FA Cup.
Cotterill's Birmingham defeated Albion 1-0 to secure a fourth-round berth in the FA Cup, but he was keen to stress his admiration for the work done by Nigel Clough and Ben Robinson at Burton.
The former Brewers marksman spent two years in East Staffordshire in the late 1980s before going on to forge a career in management.
And after Sam Gallagher had downed his former side despite a deluge of attacking chances going begging for Albion in the first half, Cotterill spoke with a smile when asked about how surreal it must have been to face off against his former side in the third round of the FA Cup, with the Brewers having competed in the competition's qualifying rounds until the past decade.
"It's great - I'm chuffed to bits for Burton Albion," he said.
"I'm chuffed to bits for Ben, the same for Nigel - I had some great friends there years ago.
"I enjoyed my team immensely when I was at Burton and I enjoy going back there, I've done a couple of games for Sky there.
"I really, really enjoyed it and it was great today.
"The following they had here as well was a credit to the football club, Ben and all the board there and Nigel and all of his staff and the lads that he's put together.
"He's got a great spirit there - you can see that
"Of course I wanted to win the game today, but I have a great affection for Burton Albion and for all those people that work there and I'll never forget my time there."
Despite Birmingham's clinical edge - they scored with their only shot on target - Albion really should have made more of their chances.
The performance harked back to those cruel losses before the turn of the year where the Brewers rued a glut of missed opportunities.
Cotterill believes Burton will get what they deserve if they continue to work as hard as they did today.
"It's not the fact they've pushed us close, it was a tough game," Cotterill added.
"They've just gone away to Sheffield Wednesday and beat them 3-0 - so it's not a fluke.
"I think over some real hard work, some dedication that's gone on at that football club, they get everything they deserve.
"And like I say I'm thrilled for them. I can't speak highly enough of Burton Albion and Nigel.
"I'm looking forward to going and having a quick glass of coke with him before we drive off home.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him and the lads."