St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson is delighted to be spoiled for choice with the defensive options at his disposal.
Recently-recruited veterans Andrew Considine and Ryan McGowan have formed a new-look back three with on-loan Millwall youngster Alex Mitchell in the opening three matches of the cinch Premiership campaign.
And now skipper Liam Gordon is fit again and in contention for a centre-back berth after missing the start of the season through injury.
“It’s great, I’ve got really good options,” said Davidson. “Young Alex Mitchell has come in and surpassed my expectations with how well he’s done. I thought he’d do well but he’s been excellent.
“Then you’ve got the two experienced ones either side of him, and Liam Gordon. Last season at this time we were struggling to get a back three in place, but I think they’ve settled in as a unit, and they all talk which makes it easier.”
Davidson must now decide whether to restore skipper Gordon to the team or keep faith with a back three which, aside from Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Rangers, has generally looked strong.
“It’s a good headache,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve had that type of headache for about 14 months. Hopefully I’ll have a few headaches coming up with a few players coming back to fitness, and others getting their opportunities to play and making me make a difficult decision. That’s what all managers want, difficult decisions to make.”
Considine, 35, will go up against Aberdeen this weekend for the first time in a competitive match since leaving the Pittodrie club, at which he spent 19 years before being deemed surplus to requirements at the end of last season. Davidson has no worries about how the veteran will handle the occasion.
“We played Aberdeen pre-season (in Spain) so that one’s out the way, Andy playing his former club,” said the manager. “Andy’s been fantastic since he’s been here so we’re expecting a similar performance from him on Saturday.”
Davidson, who expects midfielder Cammy MacPherson to be out for “three or four weeks” with the thigh injury he picked up at Ibrox last weekend, still plans to bolster his squad before the transfer window closes.
“We’re always looking to strengthen,” he said. “It’s always a busy time, the end of August. You’re always on your phone, looking at players, going to games.
“If I see someone I think will help us, I’ve been given the go-ahead to go and get them, so we’ll see what’s out there. There’s nothing close, but we’re working hard behind the scenes to see what’s there.”