Efe Ambrose got his St Johnstone career up and running with a victory and a clean sheet at Aberdeen.
Courier Sport delves into the Opta statistics to analyse the former Celtic, Hibs and Livingston defender’s performance on his Perth debut.
Getting the team up the pitch
Ambrose came with a reputation of being a supremely confident individual who feels he has several years left at this level of football.
The Nigerian international playing his first game in months as the central figure in Saints’ back three against a team which would dominate possession was an immediate test of that belief and match-readiness.
There was no sign of him wanting to ease his way back in gently and protect himself by dropping deeper than Callum Davidson would want.
Ambrose’s heatmap for the 90 minutes shows he successfully maintained a high line for the Saints defence.
Indeed, over the 90 minutes, he was actually further up than James Brown.
And the average position graphic highlights the fact that a gap didn’t open up between himself and the man to his right.
It was the usual compact shape of a Davidson St Johnstone team away from home.
That Ambrose only touched the ball 30 times, compared to Jamie McCart’s total of 62 and Brown’s 43, shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Quite the opposite.
And on the two occasions he was required to deal with a cross ball into the six-yard box, he did so successfully.
Ambrose’s job description at Pittodrie was chiefly about positioning and organisation, both of which he excelled at.
Ambrose did not lose a single duel against the Dons attackers, either on the ground or on the floor.
For a player who should have been ring-rusty, that statistic from Saturday’s game is arguably the most impressive of them all.
Room for distribution improvement
Once Liam Gordon returns, you would imagine Ambrose will be seen at right centre-half more than in the middle.
McCart is the main playmaker in the backline but when he moves one position wider, Ambrose will be expected to start attacks as well as defend.
On that basis, the 18.2% passing accuracy in the opposition statistic is the one which leaves most room for improvement.
It was the lowest for a Saints outfield player at Pittodrie.