New manager Ian Baraclough has talked up Ali McCann’s chances of a call-up to the full Northern Ireland squad in the autumn.
And the young midfielder’s club boss agrees that the time is right for that next big career step.
McCann was on the fringes of the first team at St Johnstone when Callum Davidson left the McDiarmid Park coaching staff two years ago.
Now he has returned to take over from Tommy Wright, the 20-year-old is the star turn in the Saints side.
The form he showed last season, and the form Davidson expects him to show this season, will warrant a step-up from the Northern Ireland under-21s when Baraclough names his squad for the European Championship play-off against Bosnia in October.
“Ali’s progression over the last couple of years has been tremendous,” said the Saints manager.
“I think he’ll deserve a call-up. But he has to start the season well.
“He’s got to make sure he picks up where he left off last season and carries on improving.
“If he does get the call-up he certainly won’t let anyone down.
“It will be another learning experience for him. I’m sure he would pick up things from the Northern Ireland players.
“Ali can go all the way in my opinion. Hopefully he’ll do it again with St Johnstone this season and you never know where that might take him.”
Meanwhile, Saints chairman Steve Brown is set to join the SPFL board for 2020/21 on Monday, along with Celtic chief Peter Lawwell.
The pair will replace Stewart Robertson of Rangers and Motherwell’s Alan Burrows.