A trip to the home of champions Celtic is the sort of daunting fixture that most teams would prefer to avoid on the opening day of a new league season.
That though is how St Johnstone will kick off their Premiership campaign at Parkhead today with the club still reeling from last week’s shock defeat to part-time Forfar.
It was the second loss to League 1 opposition in the Betfred Group campaign following on from the disappointment at Montrose.
This afternoon, St Johnstone will also have several key men missing through injury.
However, despite all that, Saints front man Michael O’Halloran insists Tommy Wright’s squad will travel to the East End of Glasgow in a confident frame of mind, determined to put a smile back on the faces of the club’s fans once more.
The 28-year-old said: “It’s a fresh season and we have to go into it with a positive outlook.
“We have to put the disappointment of the Betfred Cup behind us.
“Having said that, you couldn’t get a more difficult first game.
“But we have nothing to lose going there. We will be going there looking to take something from the game.
“Hopefully we will be organised and difficult to beat.
“You can see we are down to the bare bones a bit and hopefully we can get everyone back quickly and maybe get a few boys in as well in the next few weeks.
“The manager rested a few of us at Forfar because we were already out of the cup.
“It’s always great to get a good start to any season. That can be key.
“We have a difficult run of fixtures early on but get a win or two and I’m sure it will put a smile on everyone’s faces.”
This is O’Halloran’s third spell with Saints having returned to the club in January following an injury-hit move top Australia with Melbourne City.
Now, though O’Halloran believes he is back at the peak of fitness once more.
He said: “I feel fit and ready to go. I’m looking forward to it because I wasn’t ready for last season to end.
“I’d had a long time off for one reason or another.
“I know what I needed to do over the summer to make sure I am fit and sharp.
“I’m really looking forward to playing at Celtic Park.
“After missing so much football, I look forward to games and I feel as fit as I’ve ever done.”
Striker Chris Kane missed last week’s game at Forfar because of a niggling back problem that can flare up without warning and he is set to be absent once more against Celtic.
However, winger O’Halloran admits he is ready and willing to fill the role in his absence
The former Scotland Under-21 player added: “I might be asked to play up front if Kano doesn’t make it.
“I have played there before so that wouldn’t be an issue.
“It would be good if we could catch Celtic cold, in between European matches.
“But they have a big squad and they can rotate it.
“They rested James Forrest and Callum McGregor in midweek because they were 5-0 up from the first leg and they were two of their big players from last season.
“It will be a cauldron but as a footballer you like playing in these sort of atmospheres and hopefully we can get something from the game.”