Saturday will be Zander Clark’s first competitive start for St Johnstone.
But the young keeper is no rookie.
The 23-year-old has amassed over 50 appearances on loan with Queen of the South, taking in trips to the likes of Ibrox, Easter Road and Tynecastle, and experienced the Premiership play-offs.
So it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that Clark took Alan Mannus’s sending off against Dundee United, and his subsequent top flight baptism in the Northern Irishman’s place, in his stride.
And, with Tommy Wright confirming he’ll play from the start in Aberdeen, Clark believes his loan apprenticeship will serve him well for his next challenge against the league leaders.
“It was unfortunate Alan was sent off on Saturday,” he said. “My first thought was being disappointed for him. It’s not nice. But I knew I had a job to do.
“You have to be ready for any eventuality when you are on the bench. That applies to any player, not just a keeper.
“It was a first for me. It was new to me to find myself in that situation. But I always train with a weekend game in mind. You never know when you will be called into action.
“It will be good to start the game at Aberdeen, if that is what the manager is saying.
“It will be my full competitive debut for the club. So I am really looking forward to it.
“But I have played in big games before. At Queen of the South the club was pushing for promotion and we had matches against teams like Hearts, Rangers and Hibs.
“I have played at some big stadiums so that will stand me in good stead for Pittodrie.”
Ironically, Clark has the Aberdeen management team to thank for giving him his shot at professional football. But now he will be doing his best to disappoint them.
“I have been here since I signed YTS in 2008,” he explained. “Derek (McInnes) was the manager. I came in for a trial and Del and Doc signed me.
“They gave me my first contract so I am grateful to them for giving me a start in the game.
“It will be good to see them again. I haven’t seen much of them because I have been out on loan. But obviously we are going up there looking to win.
“I will stick to the same routine for the weekend. Nothing will change. The training regime is the same for all the keepers. And I know Alan will be there to offer advice if it is needed.”
Apart from the penalty that Billy Mckay sent past him before he had even touched the ball, Dundee United were unable to find the back of Clark’s net in Saturday’s derby.
There was one save in particular that stood out.
“I had a reaction save from John Souttar,” he recalled. “He had a nice touch but I managed to stick out a leg and thankfully we got up the park after that and got the equaliser.
“It was strange to come on and it wasn’t an ideal start picking the ball out of he net for my first touch.
“But I just had to dust myself down and forget about it. I had to settle into the game as quickly as possible. The years I got on loan helped me massively.
“I managed to compose myself and I wasn’t overawed.
“The players were great. As a team we had to knuckle down and get on with the job. I couldn’t expect the back four to mollycoddle me just because it was my first appearance for the club. It’s good they see me as a first team player. That is the way I want it.”
Clark added: “It was a great victory for us and I was just delighted to be part of it. It was a bonus that I helped set up the winner for Simon (Lappin). I don’t know where I pulled that kick from!
“I must have given it everything to launch it that far up field.”
In Mannus, Clark feels he has the perfect mentor.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Alan and we have a great working relationship,” he said. “Alan and Stevie Banks last season helped me a lot.
“Alan has definitely helped me progress. He’s a great keeper, international class. He encourages me every day in training. He is always there to help.”