Callum Davidson has gone back to his old club Millwall for his first two signings as St Johnstone manager.
The new Perth boss, who was Gary Rowett’s number two at the Championship side until he was lured back to McDiarmid Park to replace Tommy Wright, has snapped up right-back Danny McNamara and forward Isaac Olaofe on season-long loan deals.
Republic of Ireland under-21 international McNamara, 21, will provide competition for Shaun Rooney at right-back.
He has previously been farmed out to Newport County, Welling United, Dover Athletic and Havant and Waterlooville
Olaofe, 20, can be deployed centrally up front, as well as out wide. He has recently been on loan at National League side Sutton United, where he played five games, scoring one goal before the March shutdown.
Both players caught Davidson’s eye in London and he expects the duo to push for starting places with Saints.
“I liked the look of Danny and Isaac when I was at Millwall,” he said. “They are both young and have great attitudes.
“They’re hungry and keen to learn.
“They were at the stage where they were knocking on the door of the first team squad at Millwall.
“They have both been out on loan down south and I’ll be looking for them to provide competition and push the players here.
“My relationship with Millwall is really good and they are keen to help the lads develop.
“It’s a great opportunity for them both.”
There are a lot of loan options for young players like McNamara and Olaofe in the English lower leagues but the Scottish Premiership and Saints will offer something different, according to Davidson. That will be footballing “variety”.
“This will be a great experience for them,” he explained. “Hopefully they will be playing in front of crowds of 50,000 and 60,000 when we face Rangers and Celtic and the fans are back in the stadiums.
“There’s variety in our league whereas in League One and League Two down south the teams are very similar.
“This is a tough league and I think people sometimes underestimate it.
“It’s a great learning curve for players coming here.”
Saints, who are expected to feature trialist winger Craig Conway in today’s first pre-season friendly against Hibs, have a three-match programme schedule ahead of them before the big kick-off at Tannadice on August 1.
“I’m comfortable with three games against Hibs, Aberdeen and St Mirren before we go into the first league game,” said Davidson.
“That will get minutes into the players.
“It has been quick moving towards the start of the season when you factor in the government rules regarding training.
“But it is more about match fitness now. So we have to accelerate the process and maybe take a chance of picking up a niggle or two.”
Tommy Wright wasn’t scared to change his formation from one week to the next and Davidson will have the same approach over the course of a season. The options he has across his backline will keep opposing managers guessing, starting with Micky Mellon next month.
“I’m not one to stick rigidly to one system or another,” he pointed out. “I am flexible about playing a back three or a back four.
“We have a young central defence but the likes of Jason Kerr, Jamie McCart and Liam Gordon have a lot of first team experience under their belts.
“Now it is about developing them further.
“They are all eager to improve. That’s what I want to see in young players.”