St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright is looking for David Wotherspoon to play a central role this season after hailing his man of the match performance in a 2-2 pre-season draw with Aberdeen.
The former Hibs man thrived at the heart of the Perth midfield, scoring the opening goal in the Chris Millar testimonial.
Wright said: “I thought we played extremely well. There are obviously things we need to work on. We scored two quality goals even though the two we conceded were too easy from my point of view.
“I’m happy enough with the quality of our play. I’m encouraging them to be braver on the ball this year and they were that today.
“There were a lot of good performances. I thought Foster was outstanding and Wotherspoon was probably the best player on the pitch. He is capable of reaching double figures. I want him to play more centrally – I was happy with a lot of the aspects of his game today and I’m looking for a big season from him.”
Millar had barely left the pitch after starting the game off when Saints were a goal in front.
Wotherspoon was picked out by Richard Foster and, from just inside the box, the Perth midfielder gave Joe Lewis no chance with a well-struck finish.
Seconds later Stevie May scuffed a 20-yarder straight at Zander Clark but the ex-Saint was more clinical on eight minutes, lifting the ball over the keeper for the Aberdeen equaliser.
Aberdeen were 2-1 up on 28 minutes when Scott Wright drove into the box and slid a low left foot shot past Clark.
The closest Saints came to equalising before the break was a David McMillan header from a Foster cross that flashed across goal.
Four minutes after the re-start Lewis Ferguson should have doubled the Dons lead but couldn’t find the target with his angled shot.
After the hour mark a Liam Craig free-kick picked out McMillan at the back post. He headed the ball back across goal where substitute Greg Hurst just failed to finish off.
On 73 Hurst got his goal – and it was a superb one. The young forward dragged the ball to the side of Mikey Devlin and curled a left foot shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.
Unfortunately it was his last touch of the game as he had to go off injured and was replaced by Millar for the final 15 minutes – his last appearance as a Saints player.
The home team finished strongly but were unable to find a winner.
St Johnstone – Clark, Tanser, Anderson, Davidson (Hurst 56 (Millar 75)), Wotherspoon, Wright (Comrie 84), Kerr (Gordon 45), McMillan (Hendry 65), Craig, Foster, Scougall (Njo-Lea 72). Subs not used – Mark Hurst, McCann, McClean.