2017/18 Preview – St Johnstone

As always, it has been minor surgery rather than a major overhaul at McDiarmid Park this summer. The Perth side have once again been shrewd in their business as they look to continue their impressive record under Tommy Wright of finishing in the top six n the Scottish Premiership. Here is my take on how the Saints are lined up ahead of the season commencing this weekend.

Only one major blow for St Johnstone this summer and that was losing Danny Swanson to newly-promoted Hibs. However, his replacement is a former Saints winger who will be looking to make an instant impact. After a frustrating time of it at Ibrox, Michael O’Halloran has re-joined his former club for 6 monthsL the major downfall is, a successful loan spell may convince boss Caixinha to recall him for the second half of the season. The likelihood of that happening, however, is very slim in my opinon and I fully expect O’Halloran to see the season out in Perth.

The only other “first-team” change, as such, is Scott Tanser coming in to replace Tam Scobbie. The like-for-like change sees a left-back, who can cover at centre-half, replace the man who has signed for Dundee United. As always, continuity is key and this is something in which St Johnstone have built their success on over the past few seasons.

With the emergence of Aaron Comrie and Liam Gordon, alongside the successful loan spells at East Fife for Jason Kerr see these three youngster provide adequate back-up to the first team in an already strong defensive pool.

The midfield has been strengthened further throughout the summer, however, with Stefan Scougall coming in to add more depth and quality to the middle of the park. The signing of Kyle McClean also adds competition for places with Craig Thomson also hoping to push on again this term.

Up front, nothing has changed; nobody has left, and nobody has arrived. The experience of MacLean and Cummins, as well as the youthfulness of Chris Kane gives Wright many options, but, one more striker is probably a necessity for cover and to give the Saints a different dimension in attack this season.

Overall, the squad is as good as always and the players who have left have been replaced by similar standard players, so the quality amongst the group, I would suggest, has stayed the same – if not increased – over the close-season. The addition of Scougall shows the ambition of the club as they strive to kick on further after finishing fourth last term and I do not see why this can’t be a realistic aim again this season. With another striker, and possibly another winger too, then I can see the Saintees having another successful Scottish Premiership season.

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