Not many managers can say that they got their top two transfer window targets. Tommy Wright can though.
The fact that Danny Swanson signed a pre-contract agreement with Hibs gave the Northern Irishman a head-start on sourcing his replacement and Stefan Scougall was recruited in time for St Johnstone’s European games. Scougall isn’t yet fully up to speed but has shown enough in patches to support Wright’s judgment.
Top target number two was Michael O’Halloran and the phrase ‘hit the ground running’ was made for the returning fans’ favourite. O’Halloran has been in stunning form in the first month of his half-year loan from Rangers, with four goals in four games contributing to an equally stunning team points’ haul of 10 out of 12.
We’ve yet to see if Denny Johnstone will be Premiership class but his recent history of losing his way in the English lower leagues after catching the eye in Scotland is a CV that shouts out St Johnstone.
Scott Tanser appears to be a capable left-back back-up to Brian Easton, while youngsters Kyle McClean and Callum Hendry will be given time to make their mark. Hendry, in particular, has already suggested he could be first team-ready ahead of schedule.
Wright seems happy with his lot and quite right too. But it won’t have escaped his attention that there’s another prodigal son who is struggling for game-time at Easter Road. Yes, it’s very, very early days but already it’s starting to look as if Hibs and Danny Swanson may not be the match made in Leith heaven that the boyhood Hibee would have hoped. Eight minutes off the bench at Ibrox and 56 minutes before being hooked in the defeat to Hamilton have been as good as it gets so far. He wasn’t even on the bench at Dens on Sunday.
Much like O’Halloran, Swanson is a player who needs to feel the love and to play regularly and – as was the case at Hearts – when he doesn’t get that love and those games, it can quickly become clear that player and club aren’t a great fit. Swanson joked that Wright said he wouldn’t come back in for him a third time. By January he might be wishing that he does.