Callum Hendry ready for the challenge of claiming a St Johnstone start

© SNSCallum Hendry.
Callum Hendry.

It is no secret that St Johnstone are trying to bring Stevie May back to McDiarmid Park.

And even if a deal can’t be agreed with the Scottish Cup hero, it is almost certain there will be a centre-forward joining the Perth club, whoever that may be.

Callum Hendry, though, has backed himself to get in Tommy Wright’s starting line-up when the new season begins, regardless of the extra competition.

Hendry, who has had plenty of game-time in pre-season and scored against Linfield, is relishing the challenge ahead after breaking into the Saints team at the back end of the 2018/19 campaign.

“I got a chance at the end of last season and scored a couple of goals,” he said.

“That showed that I’m ready to play at this level.

“I think I’m ready for the Premiership.

“That end to the season has been massive for me. There’s no way I’d be as mentally ready and confident as I am if I hadn’t scored those goals. It’s made a big difference.

“Confidence is such a huge part of every footballer’s game, especially a striker.

“Knowing that the gaffer had faith in me to start so many games and for me to then go and score goals and play well has built up my confidence.

“When you’re feeling good you try things and they come off. That never happens if your confidence is low.

“I feel ready. That’s it basically.”

Hendry added: “The way I feel now any striker could come in and I’ll be ready to compete with him for the shirt.

“It’s the same already with Kano (Chris Kane) and Dave McMillan. That’s how it has to be. It’s cut-throat. They’re your pals in the dressing room but we all want the same thing and we have to be selfish.

“I’ll make it hard for anyone to be number one pick.”

Injuries held Hendry back in his early years as a pro but that hasn’t been the case this summer.

“This is an important time of the year for me to stay fit and avoid any niggles,” he admitted.

“I’ve been fit, I’ve got plenty of game time and scored. I feel really sharp.

“It’s actually my first full pre-season because last year I missed a week. 21 and I’ve finally done it!”

The former Blackburn Rovers player has fond memories of the Betfred Cup, which begins for Saints at Montrose on Tuesday night after their last pre-season friendly against Inverness Caley Thistle tomorrow evening.

“I scored in the competition at Queen of the South last year,” he recalled.

“It’s an important competition because the results matter. You’re playing for something.

“The gaffer treats them like league games and so do we.

“I like the fact that the competition starts early because it means you’re match sharp for the league.”

Jason Kerr is only a few months older than Hendry but the striker thinks Tommy Wright has chosen the right man to captain the team this season.

“Jason’s been a brick wall at the back and he deserves it,” he said. “He hasn’t put a foot wrong really.

“You can see the faith that the gaffer and the staff have in him. Age doesn’t matter. If you’re ready, you’re ready.

“He’ll be a good captain for us. And, with Ginge (Liam Craig) and Fozzy (Richard Foster) behind him as vice-captains, he’s got them to speak to if he needs to.

“I’m looking forward to playing under him.”