Guy Melamed has been “brilliant” on the training ground this week, Callum Davidson confirmed, as the St Johnstone manager contemplates picking the Israeli striker for Saturday’s Tayside derby against Dundee United.
The forward’s one and only Premiership start since signing on deadline day of the last transfer window was at Easter Road in November.
And since that Hibs game there have only been late substitute appearances.
Circumstances have contrived against Melamed but his work ethic and strong mindset have impressed Davidson, who revealed that the 28-year-old can expect to see more action in the near future.
“He’s been brilliant in training,” said the Perth boss. “He’s eager and desperate to get a game. I’ll need to assess it and look at the squad and see where we are.
“Over the next couple of weeks it’s important I try and get him another game and see what he can do.
“I feel for him. It’s been a tough start, quarantining then trying to get him game-time and so on.
“I give him a lot of credit because he’s not stopped and he’s asking for extra.
“He’s desperate to do well and we’ll probably see him on the pitch soon. I’m really pleased with his attitude, as I am with all the players.”
Davidson added: “His girlfriend came across but she had to fly back so he’s here on his own. It’s tough for him to meet other people too.
“It’s not just football. It’s the outside influences which have made it really hard, so credit to him for keeping his chin up.
“I sold it to him he could play in front of 50,000 people at Parkhead and instead it’s 50 members of the press!”
Twelve months ago Ali McCann developed into a Saints goalscoring midfielder and Davidson reiterated his desire to see the burden of responsibility for finding the net this season spread across his team.
“It’s not just the strikers, it’s everyone,” he said. “It’s your centre-halves, with set-plays being important.
“If we can score from other areas that will take the pressure off the strikers and hopefully they can then start banging in the goals as they did middle of last season.
“A wee bit of luck and quality in the final third and things can change quickly.”
Three draws with United so far this season, two of them goalless, doesn’t scream end-to-end contest for the fourth meeting between the sides.
But, even though Micky Mellon has become better known for being pragmatic rather than adventurous in his short time in Scottish football, Davidson believes this may be a more open match than many would expect.
I think it’ll be different on Saturday.
“It’ll be an interesting game,” he said. “I think they’ll come and have a go. The last game they sat in and defended.
“I think it’ll be different on Saturday. There will be space to press and we need to make sure we exploit that.
“They’ve got that attacking threat – Shankland, McNulty, Clark, Pawlett, Appere. There are a lot of them so we need to make sure we’re ready for that.
“I’d take a 1-0, scoring in the 91st minute of a scrappy game. We’ve played a lot of good football and not got the rewards.
“So at this present moment we’ll find a way to get the result without deviating too much from how we want to play.
“There are maybe little things we can improve on and if we have to make it ugly then we make it ugly and we battle and fight it out.”