St Johnstone defender Tony Gallacher has suffered a fractured leg and his season is over.
The wing-back sustained the injury in a first half 50-50 challenge with Livingston’s Nicky Devlin on Saturday.
And Perth boss Callum Davidson has revealed the former Liverpool man will be out until pre-season.
“It doesn’t look great,” said Davidson.
“He’s been for an x-ray and it hasn’t come back positive. It looks like a fracture, which would mean he’s out for the rest of the season.
“Tony has come back up the road to play games and he’s done that.
“He’s played quite a few games in a row and is quietly progressing.
“There are bits of his game that remind me of when Scott Tanser came in at first – he’s got great pace and energy to get up the line.
“The more minutes he was getting the more confident he was becoming.
“This is obviously a blow for him but hopefully he’ll recover quickly and we can get him back in for pre-season.”
Davidson added: “Three months is probably the timescale we’re looking at.
“It’s not the most common fracture so we’ll get a couple of opinions on it.
“He tried to get up because the pain was easing off a bit but as soon as he put weight on it we knew he’d have to come off straight away.”
Cleary stitches after straight leg tackle
Davidson had no complaints about Devlin’s part in the incident but James Penrice’s lunge on Dan Cleary later in the game – which left the Irish defender needing stitches in his foot – was one he felt may well have been worthy of a red card.
“Tony’s one was a difficult one to see,” said the McDiarmid Park boss.
“I don’t think there was any malice in the tackle. It was a simple 50-50.
“Unfortunately Tony has come out worst.
“From the other one, Dan Cleary has ended up needed stitches on the top of his foot.
“For me it was a tackle that could quite easily have been a sending off.
“You could see the reaction from their sub (Andrew Shinnie) when it was made.
“It’s the sort of tackle you could make in my day – straight leg, front-on.
“But they’re trying to get it out of the game because of the injuries it can cause.
“Dan won’t be training early in the week – the foot is still swollen and obviously the stitches have just gone in.
“Hopefully it will settle down before the weekend.”
Cleary couldn’t have done anything else
Meanwhile, Davidson insisted that the handball penalty many have claimed should have been awarded against his centre-back wasn’t clear-cut.
“Rules have been changed with the introduction of VAR – even though we don’t have it in Scotland – so handball is really difficult for referees now,” he said.
“Hand to ball and ball to hand is very difficult to judge.
“The only thing I’d say about Dan is he’s slipped and fallen.
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“You can’t put your hands behind your back when you do that.
“Planting your face in the ground isn’t a natural thing to do.
“The ball has struck the top of his arm as he’s come down but the referee has obviously thought there was nothing else he could do.
“It’s not as if he’s put his arm to the side to stop it.
“There are a lot of handball decisions I see in football that I don’t agree with.
“You could say it’s one we’ve got away with but a lot have gone against us this season.”