St. Johnstone played Preston North End yesterday in a 1-1 draw which produced a whole host of talking points. Here are the 3 key things we noticed.
Michael O'Halloran is BACK
One of the most notable things from yesterday's game was 30 year old Michael O'Halloran. The winger put in a stellar performance and looked more like the O'Halloran of old, he looked in great shape and has certainly used his summer break wisely.
[O'Halloran was steaming into tackles]
'Mikey' was sharp against Preston and gave the defence no time on the ball whilst also looking dangerous with the ball at his feet. Last season was a poor one by his standards as he only scored twice, assisted 4 times and picked up 2 red cards in 32 games.
Following his ludicrous red card against Rangers it looked as though his St. Johnstone career may have been over with Callum Davidson even saying that "He has to earn my trust to play again".
This was a make or break moment for O'Halloran and with his contract up in the summer it would have been easy to have accepted defeat.
However, O'Halloran has turned it around and looks to be back on form as he set up Wotherspoon's goal yesterday by charging the keeper down and then won a penalty (less said about that the better). He looked like a man reborn.
[O'Halloran blocks the keepers clearance]
Saints Have Some Serious Young Talent
During last night's game Davidson made good use of his subs bench and we as fans got a first proper look at new loan signings Reece Devine and Hayden Muller whilst youth academy graduates Jordan Northcott, Cammy Ballantyne and Max Kucheriavyi also made appearances.
Northcott has blistering pace whereas Ballantyne was elegant with the ball at his feet and looked very composed. Both of the youngsters impressed as well as loanees Devine and Muller who slotted into the back 5 comfortably.
[Ballantyne in possession]
The future looks bright!
Fans Being Back Was Ace!
The real talking point of yesterday's game was the return of fans to McDiarmid Park. There may have only been a lucky 1000 in attendance but they made themselves heard when it counted and there was a real buzz about the place.
[Fans were socially distant]
Covid protocols and the lack of pies did threaten to put a dampener on the evening however the atmosphere was as good as you could expect in the circumstances and seeing the double winners in the flesh was amazing.
After 500 days away being back was brilliant and reminded me of how much better football was in person. We can't ever let it be that long without crowds again.