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Steven MacLean admits he is “very close” to his first summer signing at St Johnstone amid reports that goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov is on his way to McDiarmid Park.

The 26-year-old Bulgarian, who was most recently at Cambridge, has been heavily linked with a move to the Perth club.

Speaking ahead of the ViaPlay Cup opener away to League Two side Stenhousemuir on Saturday – Alloa, Ayr and Stirling are also in the group – MacLean would not be drawn on speculation linking him with Mitov but said: “Ideally I would like to have a couple of more players in but I am comfortable with what I have got and really looking forward to the game.

“We are very close to one. I will let you speculate.

“Hopefully that will be done soon and other things are happening.

“We maybe missed out on one yesterday, he chose to go somewhere else but things are starting to move.

“You can see targets that we had that were maybe a ‘no’ are starting to come around. It is getting there. But we still want quality.”

On the subject of goalkeepers, MacLean admitted competition was needed for 22-year-old Ross Sinclair, who was on loan to Montrose for the first part of last season.

The former Saints striker and coach said: “I have always said it. I want to bring in a keeper to challenge Ross and push him.

“Ross is a top keeper and hopefully will be a St Johnstone player for a long time but it is important that you have competition for places.”

MacLean is looking for a lively start to the season from his side.

St Johnstone drew their first two ViaPlay Cup ties last season against Annan and Queen of the South and failed to get out the group, setting the tone for a season of struggle which ended with MacLean taking over from Callum Davidson in April and steering the Perth club away from relegation.

He said: “It is massive for the club that we get out of this group stage.

“I want to win the four games and top of the group and be seeded as well. Every game in its own right will be difficult.

“It is the old saying that for the lower league teams, games against us will be their cup final and they will work that bit harder so it is important that we have a good mind-set and good attitude and go into the games positively.”

MacLean revealed striker Chris Kane will miss the season opener with an ankle injury that requires a scan.

He said: “He rolled his ankle and there is a little bit of discomfort. We have got him a scan to clear up any doubt and hopefully it comes back clear.”