Callum Davidson has backed Daniel Phillips to be a St Johnstone success story.
And the Perth boss admitted he had planned to introduce the former Watford man into his first team gradually rather than throw him into the deep end.
But a central midfield injury crisis forced his hand.
Phillips impressed on debut against Rangers but was less effective when Aberdeen visited McDiarmid Park and toiled at Tynecastle.
Davidson’s faith in the 21-year-old hasn’t diminished, though.
“We had to accelerate Dan’s debut against Rangers,” he said.
“I’ve been in that situation myself – coming into a team. It can be hard when you haven’t been part of pre-season.
“He has to get used to the pace of the league. It’s probably more frenetic up here, especially at Tynecastle.
“You can see there is quality but there are little things he needs to get better at.
“He’s still a young man, he has a bright future and I’m looking forward to working with him.
“The ideal situation would have been to ease him in.
“A couple of weeks ago I had four centre midfielders – a good blend of experience and youth.”
Murray Davidson and Melker Hallberg are both “touch and go” to feature against St Mirren on Saturday.
Cammy MacPherson has now had a thigh operation, with the recovery period expected to be 12 weeks.