He was an integral part of St Johnstone’s league and cup success last season but Glenn Middleton has taken his game to the next level at the beginning of this campaign, according to manager Callum Davidson.
Having to leave the on-loan Rangers forward out of his team for the clash with Middleton’s parent club last weekend was unfortunate.
But a raring to go Scotland under-21 international will return at Pittodrie on Saturday, with Davidson licking his lips at the attacking options he now has at his disposal.
“Glenn is playing with a lot of confidence,” said the Perth boss.
“He’s comfortable here, he knows what I expect of him and what his team-mates expect of him.
“We know what he’s capable of so that’s why we were so keen to get him back here again.
“He’s one of a number of good attacking players we’ve got.
“As well as Glenn there are Ali Crawford, Michael O’Halloran and David Wotherspoon who all create chances.
“So it’s exciting to get them all into the team together.”
Fitter than last season
Davidson added: “Glenn’s fitness levels have moved up this season, I am really pleased with him and it was disappointing we couldn’t play him against Rangers.
“You have seen already this season how important he is to us. Against St Mirren when he came on showed that.
“Glenn has come back here with a brilliant attitude and I expect him to really kick on again this season.”
There weren’t many head-to-heads Saints would have been frustrated with last season but the one with Aberdeen would fall into that category.
A record of three defeats and a draw was underwhelming.
But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
“I felt we played well against Aberdeen last year,” said Davidson.
“The games were always tight but we didn’t manage to get a result out of it.
“We want to change that and if we play like we did up there last season we’ll have a chance.
“Aberdeen play slightly differently these days.
“We want to get that first win. I think we have played well in a lot of the games and I’ve already said I think the European games affected us early in the league.
“It’s very hard for us to replicate performances Thursday and Sunday.
“If we had that extra 5% in the league games than we had in Europe then we’d maybe be speaking about a different position.
“But with the attacking players we’ve got now, I really think we can kick on from here.”
Saints played a closed-doors match against Motherwell in midweek, with the likes of Efe Ambrose and Eetu Vertainen getting much-needed game time.
“I want players up to speed as quickly as I can so we had a game on Wednesday to help players do that,” said Davidson.
“Efe got minutes and it was also good for Lars Dendoncker because he’s not played either.
“We want everyone up to speed because once I have that we’ve got good options.
“Looking at the squad size we have more players competing for places, so people are going to miss out.
“It’s up to the players who have not been stripped to show me they want to play and want to win games.
“If they come in and we win then they’ll stay in – that’s the way it’s got to work.
“Players who are not playing but who need games, we will always look to get them that if it’s possible.
“Last season it was a bit harder because of the size of squad but we have more numbers this season.”