PATIENT Saint Chris Millar has played his way back into manager Tommy Wright’s first team plans.
The injury plagued St Johnstone midfielder featured in Europa League clashes with FK Trakai.
But the 34-year-old looked to be on the way out the door after slipping down the Perth pecking order earlier in the season.
Wright warned he might be better looking for another club to secure regular game time.
But Scottish Cup winner Millar, who has been awarded a testimonial at McDiarmid, was recalled for clashes with Aberdeen and Rangers.
And now he looks set to start against Hearts this weekend.
Wright said: “It is simple with Chris. It was never a case of me pushing him out the door. I just put the facts to him.
“In previous seasons he had been a first choice. If he got injured I brought him straight back in.
“But when we spoke he knew that was no longer going to be the case and at his age it might have been an option for him to go and play regular football.
“I have never had a problem with Chris. He was told categorically I wasn’t looking to push him out of the club.
“It was left up to Chris. He probably disagreed with me but he respected the situation.
“His attitude has been very professional and I would expect nothing less of him.
“I haven’t detected any problems in training, otherwise he wouldn’t have got back into the team.
“And he is experienced enough to know things can change.
“It would be foolish for a manager to shut the door on any player because you can pick up injuries and suspensions and the picture can change.”
With Blair Alston ruled out by a niggling thigh injury and on-loan Rangers wide man Michael O’Halloran recovering from an ankle knock, Millar’s patience paid off.
“Chris did well against Rangers,” said Wright.
“He was taken off the other night just because of fatigue. He had put a lot into an intense game.
“He played 45 at Aberdeen and an hour or so on Friday. He will benefit from that.
“Chris has done everything I have asked of him.”
Top scorer O’Halloran was ruled out of the Gers clash by the small print of his loan deal but he will return to face Hearts at Murrayfield.
Wright said: “Paul Paton has been ill but he’s fine now and Brian Easton hurt his knee against Rangers but he should be back training by the end of the week.
“He picked up a knock in the first half but the fact he was able to play the second 45 means he should be OK for Hearts.
“It has taken longer with Blair than we’d have liked and we have had to nurse him along.
“But he was close to making the Rangers game so I’m expecting him to be involved in the squad this weekend.”