Tommy Wright believes there will be a fear factor in the McDiarmid Park dressing room, with St Johnstone players knowing that only their very best football will keep them in his starting line-up.
The Perth boss has the strength in depth that he wanted after a “fruitful” few months of recruitment, culminating in the late deals for Ross Callachan and Danny Swanson.
Saints have made a good start to the season, with seven points from four games, but there is certainly no scope for anybody resting on their laurels.
“Hopefully we have created real competition for places,” said Wright.
“I want them sitting in the dressing room thinking they have to step up here to keep their place in the side.
“On paper this is certainly the strongest squad in terms of quality and depth we have had in a while here.
“This process all started back in January. It has been a long eight months but we have got the players in that we wanted.
“We have worked hard on it and I am excited about it going forward.
“Myself and the chairman talked things over in January and we wanted to get the average age of the team down and inject more pace and mobility, with players who are comfortable on the ball.
“The last few months have been really fruitful for us in terms of recruitment.
“It’s good for a manager to work with different players.
“The lads we have had here down the years have been brilliant for me.
“But when the average age was touching 29 or 30 we had to address that.”
Wright has been pleased with his players’ response to a very poor opening day Premiership performance at Kilmarnock.
“We had 10 points from 12 last season but seven is a good return so far,” he said.
“The foundations were laid in the Betfred Cup. We won four out of four and came through a difficult tie at Queen of the South.
“But for 45 minutes at Kilmarnock where we contributed to our own downfall we have been pretty good.
“The performances have been better so far and we have been solid.
“That has helped us recover from that first game loss at Rugby Park we are in a reasonably good position at the first international break.”