He may have been sacrificed for more attacking players and missed the drama on Saturday, but Ouss Cisse stood head and shoulders above the rest at Stadium MK.
His English may be insufficient enough to stand him in front of the media quite yet, but the giant Malian is already turning into something of a cult figure at MK Dons.
A regular on Snapchat, singing from his car, or checking out the latest pitch he’s about to play on, Cisse is already one of the most interactive players Dons fans have ever seen.
But on Saturday, they saw what he was brought in by Robbie Neilson for - to run the show.
Stepping into the shoes of the long-time playmaker and orchestrator Darren Potter was always going to be a tough task. Many tried and came up short down the years, with the role seemingly built around Potter, rather than the man filling the role.
The 4-4 draw with Oldham, despite being withdrawn before the unlikely comeback sparked, was Cisse’s breakout performance for Dons.
In the first half, he was a part of everything at both ends of the pitch. Linking up seamlessly with Chuks Aneke, he bound up and down the left flank as an outlet and indeed cover for Scott Golbourne. When he needed to he sat deep, giving freedom to Alex Gilbey and Ed Upson to get on the score sheet. He made interceptions on the edge of the box, started new attacks, joined in with them when he could - it was the best he has been since moving to England.
Initially, Cisse struggled to make a meaningful impact. Caught on the hop by a lack of time on the ball, smothered by busy midfields and stifled, he has since adapted.
His game is quicker, dallying less on the ball, instead feeding his midfield partners as he sits to play the defenders’ bodyguard.
But it’s the character of the man which has endeared him to the fans too. Even spending 71 minutes on the bench at Gigg Lane, chants of his name were the loudest and most frequently heard in Bury as he chuckled and applauded the fans as he warmed up.
Growing in stature, importance and influence, Cisse now needs to back up Saturday’s performance with one on an equally high level to establish himself as Dons’ new midfield general.