As a prodigiously talented young half-back, he worked from 2004 to 2007 with Leeds Rhinos head coach Smith at Headingley, the Australian who also then selected him for both Great Britain and England around that period.
They were supposed to be acquainted at the Robins earlier this month when Smith took over from the sacked Tim Sheens, only for McGuire to strain a calf on the eve of the 52-year-old’s first match in charge.
Relegation-threatened Rovers lost that game against Wigan Warriors and he was sidelined for the following week’s win versus Warrington Wolves plus Thursday’s narrow defeat at bottom-placed London Broncos.
However, McGuire – who won two Grand Finals with Smith at Leeds – is back tomorrow night ready to help push the East Yorkshire club’s rise from the wrong end of the table.
“It’s fine now and all systems go for Thursday,” he said, the club also expected to announce the signing of Australian hooker Matt Parcell from Leeds this morning.
“When it happened, I was a bit mad, as you can imagine. I was angry, to say the least, tweaking it in the Captain’s Run.
“It was Tony’s first session after taking over, too. I was gutted. But it happens doesn’t it? I’ve trained today, though, and it’s good to go.”
Rovers fans will be elated; given their current plight, they desperately need all the experience, nous and organisational quality the 36-year-old brings.
The 26-24 loss in Ealing saw London go above them into 10th and, so, instead it is KR who now reside last, level with Rhinos.
Hull, by contrast, are discovering some genuine form and consistency having thrashed Catalans Dragons 50-10 in Perpignan on Saturday on the back of an impressive win at Castleford and also defeating Salford Red Devils.
They are on a four-game winning run, sit third in the table, have lost just once in their last eight outings and also have a Challenge Cup semi-final to look forward to next month.
McGuire said: “I always expected that. If you look at FC’s squad, they’re probably up there with Warrington and Saints.
“I know they have had some inconsistency at times and been under pressure but in the big games they always seem to turn up and know how to play.
“I’m not surprised where they’re sat. It will be a challenge for us but with being a derby and us playing at home we have to rise to it. I’m pretty confident we can.
“Our consistency has let us down but when we’ve got near our full-strength 17 playing we’ve shown what we can do.
“We’re confident we can pull clear of this and there’s no better way to start a run than beating our rivals in a must-win game.”
Rovers, of course, defeated Hull with a last-minute try from Jimmy Keinhorst at KCOM Craven Park on the opening night of this campaign.
McGuire admitted that felt like a “long time ago” while the most recent meeting saw embarrassed Rovers suffer a record 56-12 Good Friday defeat across the city.
“It’s always there,” he conceded, when asked if players owe fans a performance after that humiliation. “I remember that game and your bad performances always stick with you a little bit. I won’t say we’ll use it as motivation. We have our own motivation.
“We need to be playing well to obviously move up the table and to represent the shirt, supporters, everybody... We need to play better this week and I’m pretty confident we can do that.”
McGuire replaces Will Dagger, while prop Mitch Garbutt comes in for Keinhorst in the only other change but Smith named just 18 players yesterday in the hope Parcell’s deal would go through in time for him to be added.
First, KR needed to offload centre Junior Vaivai to create an overseas quota spot but the Aucklander’s transfer to Toulouse Olympique was completed last night to set things in motion.
Former England hooker Shaun Lunt is set to leave Rovers for Leeds as part of the switch.
Meanwhile, McGuire fully expects Smith to initiate the changes needed to get Rovers out of trouble. He said: “I loved my time working with Tony at Leeds.
“He definitely got the best out of me as a player. And he’s come in here, set his standards and expectations straight away and everyone has bought into it really.
“At Leeds, if you didn’t live up to those expectations and weren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing you get told. It’s probably what we needed a little bit (here).
“It was sad to see what happened with Tim. I really respected him and enjoyed working with him but I think a little bit of complacency had crept into the place.
“It just probably needed a bit of a shake-up. Tony, in my opinion, is the best in the business at that.
“It’s been a bit of a shock for a few of the boys to start with but everyone has bought into it now.
“We’ve looked healthy in training; there’ll be no excuses from us come Thursday.”