Glenn Middleton is adamant St Johnstone are in safe hands for the foreseeable future after lauding the progress of talented goalkeeper Ross Sinclair.
McDiarmid Park prospect Sinclair is yet to make his senior debut for Callum Davidson’s side but has excelled during loan stints with Brechin City and Cowdenbeath.
And the 20-year-old underlined his vast promise by making his Scotland under-21s debut against Turkey last month, benefitting from English-based players being unable to travel to the red list nation.
Sinclair was composed, commanding and made several key saves during the 1-1 draw in Bursa — none of which surprised Middleton, having trained with the Scone-born shot-stopper every day.
And Sinclair has retained his place in Scot Gemmill’s squad despite youngsters from south of the border once again being available for selection.
“I thought Ross was brilliant over in Turkey,” lauded the Saints loan star. “He made a lot of big saves and, not only that, but he was always talking.
“I was up front but I could still hear him!
“He was commanding everyone at the back and that’s what you need. You want a goalkeeper who comes in with belief.
“It didn’t surprise me at all. I see it at St Johnstone every day. Ross is an unbelievable shot-stopper and he has plenty of confidence in himself.
“He just needs that game-time in order for other people to see how good he is.”
With Jack Wills currently gaining valuable experience on loan at Brechin, St Johnstone’s goalkeeping department is in rude health.
Asked whether Sinclair can be a worthy successor to Saints hero Zander Clark, Middleton added: “100 per cent. He definitely backs himself to do that.
“It’s a different life as a goalie. You do your work day-in, day-out and it all adds up for one moment. And I think that one moment was the game against Turkey.
“He’s shown to everyone that he can be relied on.”
While Sinclair is a relative rookie in the Scotland set-up, Middleton is the most-capped member of Gemmill’s group to face Denmark at Tynecastle this evening.
Indeed, it is a landmark night for the winger, who is set to make his 50th appearance for all Scotland age groups.
“It genuinely means a lot,” he smiled. “I’m very grateful to Scot [Gemmill] who has always been brilliant with me.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) May 10, 2021
“My first call-up was when I was 15. We played Poland at Hamilton’s ground and I was genuinely so excited! My dad drove me up from Northampton for it and I still remember meeting everyone at the hotel.
“Charlie Gilmour — who is at St Johnstone with me now — was there. It seems quite a while ago now.
“That international experience has helped me grow so much and it’s not something you can take for granted.”