David Wotherspoon is going into season number eight as a St Johnstone player on cloud nine.
The experienced midfielder didn’t want to see legendary Saints manager Tommy Wright leave McDiarmid Park a couple of months ago.
But Wotherspoon has been given the perfect confidence boost ahead of the new campaign in the form of the Northern Irishman’s verdict on who was his best ever signing for the Perth club.
He got that recognition for his versatility and consistency over the last seven years – qualities that were as prevalent when Wright’s era was drawing to a close as they were at the beginning of it.
It was the ultimate compliment and one that means a lot to the former Hibs man.
The 30-year-old will certainly have a spring in his step as he seeks to re-establish himself as a regular starter under new boss, Callum Davidson.
“It was great to hear what Tommy said,” said the 30-year-old.
“He was at the club for a long time and for him to say it was a real honour. My family and friends were delighted to hear it as well.
“It was a privilege to work with him and he was great for my career. I enjoyed working under him and they were just great times.
“I was shocked and disappointed when he left but that is football and you need to move on.
“What he said gives you an added bit of confidence, knowing that you had his admiration.
“Hopefully I can achieve that with the new gaffer and the rest of the team.”
Wotherspoon suspected that moving from Wright’s leadership to Davidson’s would be seamless and so it has proved.
“It was good to get back into training and meet the new gaffer again,” he said. “I think he was the right appointment.
“He has certainly got the approval of the boys already. We’re really enjoying the training.
“There is obviously Steven MacLean back in as well.
“I knew when Macca was a player that he would turn into a great coach. He is so influential and knows what he is talking about.
“They have fitted in like they’ve never been away. They know the place well, know most of the staff and the players.
“It has been an easy transition and I think they are looking forward to the task ahead.”
The next phase of Saints’ pre-season preparations kicks in tomorrow when Saints play their first friendly against Hibs.
“We played 45 minutes amongst ourselves at the weekend, which was tough,” said Wotherspoon.
“It’s going to be difficult going into another game but it’s what you look forward to now. It’s what you want to get back into.
“It’s exciting times for the club with such a young and exciting squad. We’re all very excited about the season.”
The prospect of renewing a local rivalry with Dundee United on the first day of the Premiership campaign is one for Wotherspoon and his Perth team-mates to get excited about.
“It’s great to have Dundee United back in the league,” he said. We always enjoyed playing them home and away.
“That first game will still have an edge to it. It’s been a few years since we’ve played them and they’ll be fighting for everything.
“We’ll get our preparations right to make sure we’re ready to go.”