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Rugby failed to leave lasting impression on St Johnstone playmaker Stefan Scougall

Stefan Scougall
Stefan Scougall

Stefan Scougall has no recollection of his last visit to the home of Scottish rugby.

So the St Johnstone playmaker is determined to file away fond memories from today’s clash with Hearts.

The former Livingston and Sheffield United midfielder is beginning to find his feet in Scotland’s top flight after Perth boss Tommy Wright finally secured a long-term target.

And Scougall’s influence will be vital as fifth-placed Saints bid to fend off the top-six challenge posed by Hearts.

He said: “I was at Murrayfield to watch a Scotland rugby match years ago when I was a kid but I can’t even remember who they were playing, never mind the result.

“I was probably only five or six at the time and was taken along with my sister, cousins and other members of the family.

“Looking back, that was my first-ever rugby match and it turned out to be my last.

“I don’t remember much about the game and I can’t recall ever being at another one.

“Football got all my attention.

“I didn’t take much interest in rugby growing up.

“But I have to say I’m looking forward to playing at Murrayfield. It’s a fantastic stadium.

“It won’t be a sell-out because it is so huge but there will still be a good atmosphere for the match.

“Hearts won’t really have an advantage because they have only played one game there, against Aberdeen.

“So it is still pretty new to them as well.”

Scougall (24) was identified to fill the gap left by Danny Swanson heading for Hibs during the summer.

And after impressing in a 3-0 loss to Rangers, boss Wright believes he is beginning to put his stamp on games.

“I would agree with the manager that the game against Rangers was probably my best performance since coming in,” said Scougall.

“I am getting up to speed in term of fitness. I felt I did alright up at Aberdeen in the previous game. That was my first full 90 minutes and I got another against Rangers.

“It had been a long time since I did have a full game.

“I can sense I’m beginning to produce my best form and now my target is to break my scoring duck.

“I have had to feel my way into the Premier League. I had only played in the old First Division with Livingston up here before going down to the Championship with Sheffield United.

“It has been new to me and I do feel I was finding my feet in the first few games.

“But now I feel I am getting up to speed and finding my form.”

The Jam Tarts are looking to leapfrog Saints and Scougall admits the Perth side will have to be at their best to keep them at bay.

“I know Jamie Walker at Hearts and I have played against Michael Smith when he was at Peterborough,” said Scvougall.

“I rate him. He is a good attacking player with a bit of pace.

“I played against Ross Callachan when he was at Raith and I was at Livingston. He deserved his move and he has been doing really well.”

Saints are without suspended pair Steven Anderson and Richard Foster and Wright will rely on former Hearts kid Liam Gordon or Ally Gilchrist to step into central defence.

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