Guy Melamed has finally joined his St Johnstone team-mates in training after a frustrating two-week quarantine in a Perth hotel room.
And while the weekend Tayside derby clash with Dundee United might come too soon for him, the 27-year-old Israeli striker is determined to make his mark in Scottish football.
He turned down offers from various countries before penning a McDiarmid deal through to the end of the campaign.
“I feel I am at my peak after good seasons in Israel and I am ready for a new challenge,” said the former Maccabi Netanya centre.
Melamed admits Saints were an unknown quantity and he relied on the internet for info on Callum’s Davidson’s side.
He also made use of an old pals’ network before looking out the passport.
The attacker sounded out Celtic duo Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed and Hibs keeper Ofir Marciano.
And now he can’t wait to savour “the magic” of Scottish football.
“I had offers from Portugal and Poland and from two big clubs in Israel. But there was something about Scotland that talked to me,” said Melamed.
“I want to feel the magic here.
“I didn’t know anything about St Johnstone until I looked on the website and saw they had finished sixth last season.
“But I knew about Scotland from Nir and Elhamed and Ofir.
“Israel is a small country so everyone knows each other. I spoke to them and they all said it was a very good league.
“Nir has been here a long time and he has been very successful at Celtic. He can be proud of himself.
“I see he has had the Covid and I hope he is well soon.
“When I agreed to sign here I just wanted to get to Scotland quickly, even though I knew I would have to quarantine because of the virus.
“I was alone at the airport because there was a lockdown in Israel.
“I had good offers from Europe before I had an injury. Blackburn Rovers offered me a contract.
“That didn’t work out. But I always wanted to play outside Israel and the timing now has been perfect.”
Melamed is hoping to help Saints climb the table and forge new memories.
He said: “I won the league with Be’er Sheva and trained with the national team. Those were high points.
“At Maccabi Netanya we reached the cup final. We hadn’t been in the final for 40 years and I scored. But we lost on penalties. That was both the happiest and saddest day of my football career.”
The striker has kept himself ticking over with weights and a fitness bike in his room.
But he was thrilled to escape the confines of his hotel.
“It has been great training with the guys,” he said. I was excited and I have missed it.
“Everybody has made me very welcome.
“My last competitive game was three months ago but I played some friendlies before Covid closed things down.
“I think I am ready to play maybe 20 minutes as a substitute. But we have a fitness coach who knows better than me and he will advise the manager.
“Players always want to play but the coach will be smart and time it right.
“It was strange signing for a new club and finding myself in a hotel room for two weeks. It has definitely been the strangest time of my career.
“I watched a lot of Netflix and Israeli television channels and had PlayStation to pass the time.
“And of course I watched Scotland beat Israel on penalties in the Euro play-off.
“That was disappointing but I hope Scotland beat Serbia because they are my second country now.
“I watched St Johnstone games as well and they look like a good team.
“They defended very well against Celtic and were very disciplined until they lost two late goals and they scored five against Hamilton.
“It is good to be with a team that scores goals. That is good for confidence.
“It will be a challenge getting a start with so much heathy competition and I am looking forward to the fight.”
Melamed recalled a poolside chat with Perth duo Callum Hendry and Liam Gordon during a Miami break.
And they have been quick to roll out the welcome mat.
“I remember seeing them playing with the ball in a swimming pool and we had a talk.
“They said they were footballers in Scotland but it wasn’t until I signed that I realised they played for St Johnstone.
“Liam said he recognised me from the club’s photograph.
“It was crazy, such a small world. But they have helped me so much.”