St Johnstone will have their captain, Jason Kerr, back for Sunday’s trip to Celtic Park, Callum Davidson has confirmed.
And Murray Davidson also has a chance of facing the Parkhead crisis club.
Both men have missed Saints’ last two matches, Kerr with a back injury and Davidson as he recovered from a head knock.
The clash with Celtic will come too soon for Craig Conway, however.
“Craig will be missing for Sunday,” said Davidson. “He had his broken nose reset last Friday. We’re hoping he’ll be OK for the Livingston game.
“Murray is touch and go. It’s to do with his shoulder, rather than concussion. He landed awkwardly there and we still need to monitor him.
“He joined in training the other day for the first time but there is still some discomfort.
“Jason and Danny (McNamara) will be available so it’s good to have at least a couple back.”
It says everything about the standard of performances produced by Shaun Rooney and Michael O’Halloran at Fir Park last weekend that Kerr and McNamara weren’t missed in the Betfred Cup victory over Motherwell.
“Mikey has shown to me he can play right wing-back,” said Davidson. “Certain other games we will probably use him there again.
“But he can also obviously play higher up for us as well.
“Shaun is a right wing-back but his performances have been good at right centre-half. It’s just a case of him learning that position.
“He’s strong, quick and good on the ball. He’s still a young lad and will get better and better.
“You have to understand that he’s never played at this level before. Sometimes you forget that and think that he should just fit in straight away.
“It’s taken him a bit of time to adapt but he’ll keep getting better the more he plays.”
Davidson gave O’Halloran a back to basics pep talk a few weeks ago after he had dropped out of his starting line-up. It certainly appears to have worked on the evidence of a very good display against Hibs and then a man-of-the-match one at Motherwell.
“I could see that the old Mikey was back when he came off the bench a couple of times,” said the Perth boss.
“He had a positive mindset and was enjoying what he was doing.
“He’s since had a couple of really good games after starting. I’m really pleased for him.
“He’s a very important player for us.
“My ethos is for the team and how we work together. Hopefully that brings out the best in him rather than him having to be the main man.
“He can go past people and create things and we need to give him the platform to do that. It’s the same with the likes of David Wotherspoon.”
Neil Lennon is a man under severe pressure. The same applies to his players. And fans are divided about Celtic’s way out of the fog they find themselves in.
The Hoops’ sideshow is one Saints will do their best to ignore, according to Davidson.
You have to be 110% and mentally right.
“The focus will be on what we can do to get a result and keep our unbeaten run going,” he said.
“The other side of it isn’t for us to worry about.
“It’s going to be a really tough game. That’s always the case at Parkhead or Ibrox. You have to be 110% and mentally right against these teams because they have top quality players.”
Saints are now starting to get the results that their overall play merits but Davidson doesn’t believe there has been a drastic improvement of late. There didn’t need to be one.
“The performances have been similar,” he said.
“When you get a couple of results in a row belief grows and so does momentum.
“The Motherwell match typified the attitude we’ve shown in the last 10 games – and before that.
“I can’t remember saying I’ve been disappointed with their attitude or ambition to win after a game.
“Recently we’ve had a little bit of luck, which you need. And obviously we’ve taken our chances.”
The short-term deals of Liam Craig, Chris Kane and Callum Booth will run out in a few weeks and Davidson expects extensions to be announced shortly.
“I think they’re all virtually sorted,” he confirmed. “They’re doing well and I’ll be delighted to get them tied up.”
Meanwhile, Dundee United are the latest club to get caught up in a Covid-19 situation. It’s a reminder that, though a vaccine is on its way, footballers can’t afford to drop their guard.
“It will be great if the vaccine starts getting rolled out but my players can’t really change anything just now,” said Davidson.
“That’s when you would start to pick up a couple of cases.
“It’s happened to another team in the league and we need to keep being very careful.
“Over the Christmas period there are a lot of games. It will be difficult for the players then but we’re very fortunate that we’re playing football every week and that we’re out training.
“They’re young lads and I need to make sure they’re sensible.
“I can’t afford to lose any players or staff.”