Tommy Wright has said that he doesn’t dread telling players they won’t be starting the cup final. He sees it as just another part of the job.
In any case, there wouldn’t be many players who would take the news as a shock, as the team pretty much picks itself.
Alan Mannus will of course start as goalkeeper, and the back four will be Dave Mackay, Steven Anderson, Frazer Wright and Brian Easton.
The first three have been regulars all season and Easton is the only fit out-and-out left-back at the club, with Tam Scobbie injured.
Up front is equally cut and dried.
Wright has played with one striker at times this season, and there was also a spell when Stevie May and Nigel Hasselbaink were a prolific partnership.
But since May has been reunited with Steven MacLean, that has been the number one choice in attack, and they are both certain starters at Celtic Park.
Midfield has been the most competitive area of the Saints squad this season, and even with the absence of Murray Davidson, it still is.
The best Paddy Cregg and Gary McDonald can hope for is a place on the bench, but there are five other midfielders fighting for the four spots available.
They are James Dunne, Chris Millar, Michael O’Halloran, Lee Croft and David Wotherspoon.
Dunne’s physical presence is essential, so he’s safe, but you could make a strong case for all the rest playing as well.
Millar is likely to play alongside Dunne in the middle of the pitch in an attempt to counter-act the athleticism United have in that department with Stuart Armstrong.
Wotherspoon has missed out on selection for two cup finals when he was a Hibs player but it shouldn’t be an unwanted hat-trick. Expect him to play on the left.
That leaves the wide right slot. A few weeks ago, and before his injury, Croft was the first choice. But from the Scottish Cup semi-final on, O’Halloran has arguably been Saints’ best player and it would be a brave and risky call by Wright to drop him and go with the former Manchester City man.
Both would keep United dangerman Andy Robertson honest, but the direct running and energy of O’Halloran would be my choice over the guile and better delivery of Croft.
Saints will have a strong bench. Croft and Hasselbaink are potential game-changers, while Chris Iwelumo could also be thrown on if Wright wants to go long. And if there’s a lead to be held on to, Cregg is a good bet to take the sting out of the match and keep possession.
If Wright sends out the same team which defeated Aberdeen in the semi-final and with the same tactics that turned the match around in the second half there would be few complaints from Saints fans. I think he will.