St Johnstone have made a habit of seamlessly replacing star players down the years.
And, now that Drey Wright’s departure from McDiarmid Park has been officially confirmed, Ali McCann has backed the Perth club to do it again.
From Fran Sandaza and Stevie May to Steven MacLean and Matty Kennedy, main men have left Saints year after year. But there has never yet been a hole too big to fill.
According to midfielder McCann, there is no reason to fear that will stop being the case when a successor to Wright on the right wing is recruited.
“Drey was a great player for us in the last two years,” said the 18-year-old.
“But the fans will know that when big players do leave, the club often gets a replacement who can do the job as well.
“We always seem to pull out some sort of signing that manages to replace or better a player who has left. Hopefully that repeats itself again.”
Meanwhile, it was announced earlier this week that McCann has been shortlisted by the Scottish Football Writers Association for their Double Tree By Hilton Young Player of the Year award.
Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson, Hearts defender Aaron Hickey and Motherwell’s Allan Campbell make up the nominated quartet.
“I was buzzing to be shortlisted,” said the Northern Ireland under-21 international.
“Considering what has happened with the coronavirus, I hadn’t really thought about it. But I saw it online and was delighted because getting the recognition is quite nice.
“If you look at the amount of games the other nominees have played, for such young players, it’s tough competition.
“I will just have to wait and see what happens.
“It’s definitely a confidence-booster knowing that people have been watching and have rated what you’ve done.
“That kind of thing is never in my mind when I play, but it is nice to be recognised.”
McCann added: “Since the break I’ve had more time to look back and judge what I’ve done. It was an amazing first season for me.
“To finish top six in the end made it all even better and it was a really good send-off for the manager.
“You need to consider we were bottom of the table in November.
“But our form since then was great and was testament to the work everyone put in.
“You would hope we can challenge for top six again. We need to focus on starting better and continue from there.”
A number of players have signed new deals with Saints recently, McCann’s central midfield mentor Murray Davidson among them.
“It’s good to have experienced heads like Murray in and around the training ground,” said the Edinburgh teenager.
“They are great for players like myself coming through.
“He will let me know if I’m ever doing anything wrong. He is a great servant to the club and it was good for him to sign a new contract.”
McCann and his Saints team-mates should be back in training next week with a view to an early August start to the 2020/21 Premiership campaign.
“By now everyone is itching to get back to a bit of normality,” he said.
“Every player will be wanting to make a good impression when a new manager comes in.
“I will just do what I do and hopefully whoever the manager is will take to me as much as Tommy (Wright) did.
“I’m hoping my performances continue to grow as much as they have this year.
“Alec Cleland (caretaker boss) knows all the players and staff. I’m sure he will keep things ticking over until a decision is made.”