With both teams feeling their way into the Premiership season, Sunday’s clash between St Johnstone and Dundee United should be an interesting contest.
Both sides will go into the match on the back of penalty shoot-out wins against Championship opposition in order to reach the Premier Sports Cup quarter-finals.
United registered a historic win over Rangers in their last league outing, while the Perth men have draws against Ross County and Motherwell to show for their early-season efforts.
Of course, Callum Davidson’s side have been on a European adventure, which continued with Thursday night’s incredible draw with LASK of Austria in the Uefa Europa Conference League.
Callum Davidson is likely to shuffle his pack ahead of the second leg.
But just how might the teams shape up this weekend – and who might be going head to head in search of three points?
Ali McCann v Jeando Fuchs
The standouts in the early season action for both teams have come in the engine-room and, in McCann, Saints have a rising star on their hands.
The 21-year-old golden boy looked a class act in the McDiarmid Park men’s spirited Europa League qualifying defeat to Galatasaray – and again in Austria.
Winning 70% of his duels and making six tackles against Motherwell on Premiership day one, according to Opta, the Northern Ireland international is tenacious and gritty.
However, with his quick feet and impressive range of passing – McCann registered a passing accuracy of 85.7% away to County – he is a threat in the opposition box, too.
If Callum Davidson decides to play him – and that’s a big if with so much at stake against LASK next week – he will be a marked man for United, with Fuchs likely to be doing the lion’s share of the work.
The 23-year-old Cameroon international isn’t quite the box-to-box maestro McCann is, but he is even more dogged and hard-working.
Fuchs ran the midfield for the Terrors against Rangers – making four tackles, three interceptions and winning 75% of his aerial duels.
Despite his diminutive stature, Fuchs is an incredible competitor – described as a ‘Duracell bunny’ by former boss Micky Mellon – that always leaves his mark on a game.
Chris Kane v Charlie Mulgrew
Simply put, St Johnstone forward Chris Kane is a pest – and a damn good one at that.
The 26-year-old loves to harry defenders in possession and has a knack of winning free-kicks for his team as an out ball.
Mainly used in European action so far this season, in 20 minutes against Motherwell Kane won the ball back twice for his team high up the pitch.
He also linked the play well for Saints, totting up a passing accuracy of 85.7%, with all his passes coming in the opposition half.
A nuisance, yes, but a nuisance who can play a little.
Kane will be looking to put the pressure on United’s veteran centre-half Mulgrew – who adeptly performed the role of sweeper against Rangers.
The 35-year-old former Scotland skipper is the Tangerines’ last line of defence and made nine clearances and two heroic blocks to help secure all three points against the champions.
Mulgrew also possesses a wand of a left foot that can be a big weapon at set-pieces for the Terrors and, crucially, is cool and accurate under the cosh.
Jason Kerr v Nicky Clark
Captain Kerr has become a totemic figure for Saints.
The 24-year-old centre-half is, arguably, the Perth side’s MVP (Most Valuable Player) – to use American phraseology.
Not only is he a leader and a giant at the back, Kerr is an attacking threat, out ball as an overlapping centre-back and penalty specialist.
He scored in Turkey, had a hand in the own goal leveller at McDiarmid for the second leg against Galatasaray and has been huge on the domestic scene for Saints, too.
Against County, he led by example, touching the ball a match-high 81 times, winning possession back nine times for his team and providing the most consistent distribution for Saintees, with 39 passes in the opposition half and an accuracy of 76.6% in general.
Buoyed by his second strike of the season in United’s cup win over Ayr, Clark will be hoping to get the better of Kerr.
Taking on the No 9 mantle from departed Lawrence Shankland while new boy Marc McNulty works his way back to full fitness, Clark will lead the line for United.
He did so with distinction against the Light Blues, contesting 14 aerial duels and winning the majority, and will look to add some craft to his graft this weekend.