Callum Davidson praised recent signing Efe Ambrose for bringing leadership and calmness to a much-changed St Johnstone defence.
The 32-year-old Nigerian has played in three matches since arriving as a free agent in early September and Saints have won them all.
Given the departure of captain Jason Kerr to Wigan at the end of August and injury to Liam Gordon, manager Davidson is delighted he was able to recruit the former Celtic, Hibernian and Livingston defender to help lead his new-look backline.
The Saints manager said: “Efe’s been a great signing for us, especially with Liam Gordon out, Jason Kerr away and losing Jamie McCart (through suspension) for the last game against Dundee.
“We’ve needed that wee bit of experience and Efe’s reassured us and calmed us down. He’s a good player and he’s fitted in really well. He can play on the right side of the back three as well as the middle.
“I’m really pleased with Efe. It was a real bonus to get him when we did.”
Saints’ cup double success last term was built heavily on a regular back three of Kerr, McCart and Gordon, so the manager is delighted his team have started to look secure again over the past month despite the personnel changes.
He said: “If you look back at the Rangers game (on September 11), we had a back three of Hayden Muller, James Brown and Jamie McCart and they played really well that day. Then in the last game (at home to Dundee) it was a totally different back three of Shaun Rooney, Lars Dendoncker and Efe.
“That was one of the most pleasing things about that game, that it showed I’ve got options. Last year if you told me I was going to lose my whole back three, I don’t think I’d have had many replacements there. It’s really good that we’ve got all these players at the club pushing for places.”
Davidson has a near full-strength squad available for this Saturday’s cinch Premiership match at home to Livingston. Gordon will not be fit enough but the defender is closing in on a return after being sidelined since mid-August.
The manager said: “Liam’s pretty close. He’s running now. He was moaning today on the training pitch so that tells me he’s nearly fit! He’s been running hard so hopefully we’ll have him back on the training pitch next week.”
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