St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has predicted a “big improvement” in Eetu Vertainen after the international break.
The Finnish forward signed for Saints in the summer but had to wait until the Perth club had been knocked out of Europe before a work permit was granted.
His only subsequent first team action has been as a late substitute against Rangers and Aberdeen.
Davidson is happy to be patient with the 22-year-old and stressed the challenge of adapting to the speed of the Premiership for a Scottish football new boy should not be downplayed.
“It has been difficult for Eetu coming into a new environment,” said the McDiarmid Park boss.
“It’s a bit like Guy Melamed last season. He needs to get used to the pace of the game in Scotland.
“He’s got the quality but football in Scotland is a lot more hectic than in Finland, so it takes time to get used to it.
“He’s working hard and pushing himself.”
Kane and May set the standard
Fellow forwards Chris Kane and Stevie May raised the bar for the performance level Davidson is looking for in the 3-1 victory against Dundee at the weekend.
“There is a lot of competition for strikers,” he said.
“Chris Kane, Stevie May and Glenn Middleton all want to play and they do that, not by what they say but by what they do.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) October 6, 2021
“So that shows Eetu what we’re looking for.
“He’s got to follow suit and push himself to get there.
“I can see him making progress every day and with his quality, his size and his strength I’m excited about what he’ll be able to bring when he’s up to speed.”
Davidson added: “I have had a lot of chats with him because it’s difficult moving out of Finland for the first time and going to another culture.
“People sometimes underestimate the Scottish league but it’s a fast-paced game here and you have to be right up there with the pace and the energy levels.
“Players come here from England and think it’s fast, so it’s totally different to what players elsewhere are used to.
“Eetu has the quality. It’s just about developing the other side of things with him.
“He’s working hard and I think we will see a big improvement in him over the next month or so.”