Pre-season is a footballer’s big window of opportunity.
And Theo Bair is grasping his St Johnstone chance with both hands so far.
The Canadian international scored the Perth side’s goal in a Friday bounce game against Aberdeen at the end of their Murcia training camp.
The picture in manager Callum Davidson’s mind about the role Bair can fulfil with Saints is becoming clearer.
So too is the potential he has to be a “handful” for Scottish Premiership defenders in the months ahead.
“Theo was one of those struggling with a wee niggle at the start of the week but he was excellent in the game against Aberdeen,” said Davidson.
“The goal was a wee ball in behind for him to run on to finish from a tight angle.
“He made a few of those runs in the game.
𝙏𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙣 𝙛𝙤𝙘𝙪𝙨: 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙤 𝘽𝙖𝙞𝙧 🇨🇦🐻
We had our camera focussed on Theo Bair in training today 💪
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) July 4, 2022
“With Theo, I think he’s suited to playing as a nine on his own. He likes that role.
“If he can use the physical attributes he has a little bit more in an aggressive way he’ll be a handful for any defender he comes up against because he’s quick as well.
“And he can definitely finish.
“People forget Theo is only 22. He’s still learning the game.
“He’s an intelligent guy who will speak about football – I do like players who like to talk about the game and understand it better.
“It’s a big pre-season for him and the cup games will be massive.”
Davidson outlined the focus of coach Steven MacLean’s training ground time spent with Bair.
“We’ve got Macca working with him on getting him to stay in the box more,” he explained.
“That’s the easiest place to score from.
“It’s something we’re working on with all our strikers.
“We’ve brought in players to deliver more quality and hopefully they’ll get more chances.”
Max Kucheriavyi ‘really good’
Another young player seeking to seize his pre-season chance is Max Kucheriavyi.
The Ukrainian also got a Davidson thumbs-up for his efforts in Spain.
“Max played in the game as well,” he reported. “He was really good too.
“It was just a closed-doors game but we were up against good opposition and we performed at a decent level.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) June 30, 2022
“It was a great trip as a whole – the hotel facilities and training facilities were ideal.
“We had a good week of double sessions.
“We’ve got a few wee niggly injuries that you get at this time of the year but we’re delighted to get the new boys involved and things are coming along nicely.
“There were a lot of positives.”
Carey ankle injury
Graham Carey rolled his ankle in Spain and “will be out for a week or so”.
The former CSKA Sofia and Plymouth Argyle man was Saints’ fourth summer signing.
When numbers five and six are in the door, Davidson will have the playing pool depth he wants for the League Cup group stage.
“I’m trying to get one more forward in and a goalkeeper,” he said.
“When I get those two the squad is good.
“It will be really strong, with a good mix of experience and youth.
“That balance is key.
“The goalkeeper is obviously important. There are options but we want to make sure we get the right one.”