Stick from Rangers fans aimed at Rhys McCabe provided just about the only note of discord on the night of an outstanding atmosphere at Hillsborough.
But the Wednesday player who has not been forgiven by some for quitting the Ibrox fold told The Star that he bears no hard feelings towards his former club or their supporters.
“I’m a Rangers fan,” he said. “The way people see the way I left is up to them. I came here for football reasons. What happened has happened.
“The reception I got was nothing that I wasn’t expecting. But I’ve no hard feelings towards any players, especially, or coaching staff or the fans; I thought they were great.”
The 1-0 win for the Owls was something of a present on his 21st birthday, but he said: “The result, to me and probably the staff, is not the most important thing.
“It was a pre-season game; it’s more about fitness levels and gaining touch so that you can take that into the season. Both teams did that. Picking up a result is just a bonus.”
Not all Rangers fans were against him on the night: his family were among the away following of almost 5,000.
“My family coming down was a nice surprise, because I hadn’t seen them for a few months. The whole family coming, uncles, aunts, everything, and showing their support was great.”
McCabe felt that both sides did well and the occasion was enlivened by the crowd: “The fitness is really showing now. It was a friendly but it never really felt like; the attendance was 16,000. Both sets of supporters came out to support their team; I think that drove the players on a bit and made it a bit more intense than a friendly. There were some hard tackles going in.”
He had to make a late start to pre-season with Wednesday last year because of the wrangle over his exit from Rangers but feels he has benefited this time and is hoping to earn a place in the League side. “It’s been good for me to come in from the start and get a good fitness regime, and stamp my authority, hopefully.
“The only thing I can do is work hard, get the fitness up in pre-season and show the manager what I’m all about. If he picks me, it’s all good.”
Dave Jones commented: “I think Rhys enjoyed it and he did well. It was a good battle in there. We have some good players; they have some good players. It was a very enthusiastic performance by both teams, and I think players responded to a great atmosphere.”
Some of Owls fans’ interest will have centred on Kamil Zayatte, who played as a trialist at centre back. He showed ability on the ball and in the air, reasonably good pace and sound defensive instincts.
Jones felt that the Owls’ attacking play caused Rangers “all sorts of problems” for an hour until substitutions disrupted proceedings; a 31st minute one involving Chris Kirkland came only because the keeper was feeling nauseous after a slight illness.
The boss was impressed by Liam Palmer at right back, with Lewis Buxton still out: “Liam did well. Now we have to leave him in that position and test him there.”
Rafa Floro did not get a look-in at left back because of tightness in a thigh, but Joe Mattock strived to impress.