St Johnstone racked up a convincing 4-1 win at Arbroath on Wednesday night as the double cup holders continue their impressive pre-season form.
A double from David Wotherspoon and a first Saints goal for both Jamie McCart and Cammy Ballantyne put Saints 4-0 up before a wonderstrike from Arbroath’s Harrison Clark gave the hosts a consolation effort.
Saints have a final warm-up game v Fleetwood Town at the weekend before the Scottish Premiership big kick-off at Ross County and their Europa League opener.
For Arbroath, they have the chance to book their place in the next round of the Premier Sports League Cup for the second year running, if they beat Kelty Hearts on Saturday.
But what did we learn from the game as the new season beckons?
Saints fans will change their ‘Rooney’ chant to ‘Spoony’ if cup goalscoring hero departs
St Johnstone fans basked in the sunshine at the Costa del Gayfield last night as they enjoyed their first away day in over 500 days.
They made their voices heard as some clinical finishing from Saints saw them net four goals but, as usual, cult hero Shaun Rooney was the focus of their attention.
In much the same way as the ‘Messi’ chant rings round Barcelona’s Nou Camp every time the Argentine superstar appears, Rooney enjoyed that treatment every time he came close to touching the ball.
Rooney played in a more central role but looked committed as ever – amidst continued transfer interest from Rotherham.
However, the star of the show for St Johnstone was David Wotherspoon.
🎙 David Wotherspoon > Ryan Christie pic.twitter.com/a76L8hWlDo
— Ewan Smith (@ewansmithpr) May 22, 2021
His creative spark and instinctive finishing was the difference for Saints on a night where the scoreline flattered Callum Davidson’s men.
Spoony’s emotional post-match interview at the Scottish Cup Final underlined how much his achievements over his eight year spell in Perth mean to him and he looks ready to kick on again this year.
And, it just so happens his name rhymes perfectly with Rooney, should St Johnstone fans wish to adapt their chant.
The future is bright for St Johnstone
While Spoony promises to be an influential player for Saints this year, there are a crop of talented young players coming through the ranks.
Teenager Spencer Moreland made his first-team debut last night with promising Ukranian midfielder Max Kucheriavyi and young keeper Jack Wills both making impressive starts to their loan spell at Brechin City.
However, this year could all be about Cammy Ballantyne.
After two loan spells at Montrose, the midfield playmaker looks ready to make the step up for St Johnstone and marked his appearance on Wednesday with his first goal for the club.
Don’t write off Arbroath again this year
Despite the scoreline, Arbroath more than competed with St Johnstone for long spells in the game.
They dominated possession, forced a series of saves out of stand-in Saints keeper Elliot Parish and look comfortable in most areas of the park.
As the only part-time team in the Championship, they will be everyone’s favourites to go down but, make no mistake, they still have a very strong team.
However, there’s no doubt they have a big void to fill up front – following the loss of loan star Jack Hamilton.
As manager Dick Campbell continues to scour the transfer market a new target man is his No 1 priority.