Steven MacLean has backed Callum Hendry to cope with the mixed emotions of his St Johnstone team-mates winning two trophies while he was on loan at Aberdeen.
The Perth striker, who was Saints’ top scorer in 2019/20, only found the net twice under Callum Davidson in the first half of last season – on both occasions in the Betfred Cup.
After moving to Pittodrie at the end of the January transfer window, he doubled that tally.
Given the Dons’ struggles in front of goal, it was a decent total.
In the time he was away, though, Saints completed a cup double, of course, and it would only be human nature for Hendry to let his mind drift to what might have been had he stayed at McDiarmid Park.
But now that he is set to return for pre-season training later this month, assistant manager MacLean is confident there won’t be any psychological baggage coming with him.
“Callum will be fine,” he said.
“He’s a great kid. He works hard. I’m sure he’ll have a good pre-season because he will be looking to kick on in his career.
“He has a lot of ability. Hopefully he can have a great career at Saints.
“When Callum went, he was looking to go and play games. He went up to Aberdeen and did well.
“It will be good to have him back.
“When he comes back, he will work hard.
“He’s a good player and we all know that. He played games up at Aberdeen. Hopefully he has a good pre-season and then a good season with us.”
After Hendry was loaned to Aberdeen, Guy Melamed started to make his impact in the Saints team.
The Israeli is likely to be playing his football elsewhere next season, however, after contract extension negotiations came to nothing.
“It is football,” said MacLean. “Guy did well for us and let’s be thankful of that.
“He is moving on now but it happens all the time.
“He was good for us when he came and I think we were good for him as well.
“It took him time to get up to the speed of the game and I think we helped him do that.
“If Callum had put him in too soon it could have hampered him.
“We gave him time to acclimatise and when we put him he did well.
“We thank him for everything and hopefully he does well wherever he goes.”
A centre-forward going nowhere is Chris Kane – one of the stars of Saints’ two successful cup runs.
“Callum has done brilliantly with him,” said MacLean. “And Kano has to take great credit as well. He has been fantastic.
“He will probably say it comes with playing regularly, and he is right.
“He will be disappointed he didn’t score in the cup final but the way he led the line for us was great. He has to keep going.
“I’m always saying to him he can keep getting better. That goes for every player.
“It’s not just Kano Callum has improved. He has improved a lot of the players.”