Eetu Vertainen could make his St Johnstone debut against Rangers.
The Finland under-21 international finally got his work permit on Friday, meaning he has been able to join in with group training over the weekend.
Manager Callum Davidson hopes to arrange a bounce game to gauge the former Ilves forward’s match fitness ahead of the visit of the champions to McDiarmid Park on Saturday.
And all being well, that will lead to his Perth career getting under way.
🆕🔵⚪| "Strong, skilful, good shot."
New Signing Eetu Vertainen spoke to #SaintsTV.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) September 1, 2021
“We’ll have a game at the start of the week because I’ve got a few who need a match and Eetu is one of them,” said Davidson, who will also assess deadline day recruits Ali Crawford, Cammy MacPherson and Lars Dendoncker in the closed-doors contest.
“I’d have loved to have got him in for the European games because he’s got quality and flair.
“Glenn (Middleton) has brought that but it’s something we’ve been missing.
“Attacking-wise, I’m excited. Ali Crawford will help us too.
“It’s something I’ve looked at – we’ve been playing well but not scoring enough goals.
“There will be a bit of change and freshness.
“Eetu is 6’2” and is a great athlete. He’s been doing a lot of running.
“It’s been a frustrating time for him but we’re nearly there now.
“He’s definitely in with a shout of being available for Rangers.”
Canada play El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier in the early hours of Thursday, which makes David Wotherspoon’s inclusion against Rangers far from certain.
Davidson will definitely be without Middleton, who can’t play against his parent club.
The Vertainen red-tape saga dragged on far longer than initially anticipated when his transfer was agreed but that doesn’t mean Davidson will now pull up the drawbridge on foreign recruits.
“I know more about the process now and people at the club do as well,” he said.
“It definitely wouldn’t put me off bringing players in from abroad in the future.”
Free transfer market
And Davidson hasn’t dismissed the prospect of doing more transfer business before January.
“It’s still open for us to loan players out,” he said.
“And I’ll still be looking at the free transfer market. You do get good players who are paid-up by their clubs.
“The chairman has backed me to do that and he’s backed me in January as well.
“Hopefully we can keep adding.
“I’ve got a bigger squad than last year already, which is good.”