St Johnstone star Dimitar Mitov is enjoying a new manager bounce with his club.
And now he’s hoping for the same with his country.
The former Cambridge United goalkeeper left the McDiarmid Park camp at the weekend with a spring in his step, having played his part in two wins and a draw with Saints.
After caretaker boss Alex Cleland started the Saints climb, Craig Levein guided the Perth side off the bottom of the Premiership table.
Bulgaria have also changed manager, with Mladen Krstajic sacked in the wake of a 2-0 friendly defeat to Albania last month, Mitov’s second cap.
He has been replaced by Ilian Iliev, who will now be tasked with ending a nine-game and 12-month run without a victory.
First up it’s Hungary on Thursday, whose star man is Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai.
Then Bulgaria conclude their Euro 2024 qualifiers away to Serbia.
“These will be two very tough games for us,” said Mitov.
“Hungary have already qualified, while Serbia need one win.
“Both countries have really, really good players.
“It will be good for us to challenge ourselves against them.
🚨🚨| GOAL: Great strike from Ernest Muçi!
Albania 2-0 Bulgaria.
— TTS. (@TransferSector) October 17, 2023
“We have a new manager. The last one got sacked after we lost to Albania.
“So it’s the same for me with Bulgaria as it was with St Johnstone.”
The 26-year-old added: “He will have his own ideas and ways of working.
“I’m looking forward to it.
“He’s Bulgarian but because I’ve never played in Bulgaria, he’s not someone I know.
“I know about him as a player – he’s an ex-international who played in Germany.
“I think he’s been the manager of the year in Bulgaria twice. He’s got a good CV.
“Like here, Bulgaria have gone through a process where things haven’t been going well.
“We don’t have the chance to qualify but a couple of wins can get us moving in the right direction.
“We can use these games to get used to the style of play the manager wants to see and be ready to give it a good go in the Nations League.”
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) August 21, 2023
Mitov has yet to play a competitive fixture for Bulgaria.
“That’s the next step for me,” he said.
“I feel like I’ve done well in the two friendlies. I got positive feedback from the coaches.
“Hopefully I can get a start in at least one of these next two games.
“I didn’t think I’d get in the national team that quickly after coming here.
“I’d pretty much played one game for St Johnstone and was called up straight away.
“That tells you everything about the profile of this league and this football club.”
Confidence soaring in Perth
When Mitov returns to McDiarmid next week, he’ll be going back into a dressing room brimming with confidence on the back of picking up seven points from a possible nine.
“Building the right sort of emotions is so important,” he said. “That’s what we’re getting now.
“The first win was so big. It meant so much to the whole team.
“I’ve been saying to the boys – if you make an important block or a tackle, celebrate it.
“That shows togetherness. The fans feed off it.
We agree @22Mitov! 👏🏻
3 games undefeated, huge win 💙 pic.twitter.com/aEJDMHL7lK
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) November 11, 2023
“Graham (Carey) won a throw-in near the end of the Kilmarnock game and you could see the lift it gave the fans and the players.
“Confidence and energy is so important.
“Even when we’re playing small-sided games in training, we’re doing it. There’s a great feeling in the squad about where we’re going.”