It is a case of one in and one out at St Johnstone, with Tommy Wright confirming Denny Johnstone’s arrival on loan and the probable imminent departure of long-serving midfielder Chris Millar.
The 22-year-old forward trained with his new team-mates yesterday and will be in the squad for Saints’ top of the table clash with Celtic tomorrow.
Millar, who has a testimonial year with the Perth club to look forward to, has been told by Wright that he would struggle for first team opportunities if he stayed at McDiarmid Park and is now free to find another club.
“Chris missed the start of the league campaign because he was injured but I spoke to him and his agent three weeks ago and he’s been aware for some time now that he’s no longer first choice,” said Wright.
“When we talked back in April about him re-signing and initiating the clause in his contract I explained to him that he wouldn’t be first choice.
“He played European games but I’ve now got Davidson, Paton, Wotherspoon, Craig, Alston and young Kyle McClean so Chris won’t play as many games as I explained to him.
“We made him available to clubs on a loan or permanent basis and we’ve been trying to get him a club and his agent has also been trying.
“Chris has been fully aware of the situation for a few weeks. He’s been a great servant to the club but I feel at this stage in his career he needs to be more than a squad player which is why I’ve made the decision.
“This goes back to April when we talked about him leaving but I had to make sure he was getting his testimonial and I spoke to the chairman about that.
“He’s in his testimonial year and has played for the club for 10 years but I feel he’s at the stage, and I’m at the stage with what I’ve got available, that it’s best if he goes and plays football.
“I have more than enough players in there to cover this season.”
Meanwhile, Wright revealed that Johnstone is a player he has tracked for some time.
“Denny is a season loan which suits everyone,” he said. “He goes straight into the squad for Celtic. If he hits the ground running we’ll sit down and look to sign him permanently.
“We have been looking for a striker and Denny became available. He’s someone I would have taken when he left Celtic but we couldn’t compete with Birmingham.
“He had a really good time at Morton and I know a lot about him. He’s someone that ticks a lot of boxes for us – he’s 22 and will improve the team.
“He’ll give us a bit more quality up top. I’m always conscious of what we have to spend and he’ll give us value for money as well which is important.
“Look, we can’t go out and sign someone who scored 15 or 20 goals last season because the economics won’t allow but he’s a good enough player from what I’ve seen to score goals in this league.
“The important thing for me is that he knows the league. He’s not coming into an environment where he needs to settle and will know what to expect.”