Anthony Ralston may have been one of the few people a little disappointed at Sunday’s Scottish Cup draw that paired St. Johnstone with Celtic.
While Neil Lennon’s men eye a good chance to make it back to Hampden, and the Perth side prepare for another finance boosting afternoon, Ralston may have been left feeling a little frustrated.
The right-back, who’s on loan from Celtic to Saints, won’t be able to play in the fixture as per the terms of his temporary move.
“I want to play as many games as I can and I can’t play against Celtic for obvious reasons,” he told The Courier.
“It is what it is. That’s the cup for you. It’s beyond my control and we’ll just have to see what happens on the day.
“I have been delighted with the number of games I’ve played so far, gaining fitness and experience.
“I have come up against some tough teams.
“That is down to the gaffer and St Johnstone giving me my chance.”
Ralston example shows how Celtic can use loan market
Ralston has become a regular in a St. Johnstone side that have started to hit some form.
The defender has started 20 of his side’s last 22 matches – only missing the entirety of last month’s clash against Celtic in Perth.
The Saints have surged up the Premiership too and are the fourth most in-form team over the past ten matches, sitting eighth overall in the standings.
Given that Ralston has been such a consistent performer for them, it must be a real blow to lose him when the country’s best side come to town.
But that’s what will happen when we visit McDiarmid Park for the cup tie at the end of this month.
This example is real proof of how Celtic can utilise the loan market in Scotland.
We’ve effectively strengthened St. Johnstone against every team in the league, bar ourselves, when they are weakened again.
All while the player gets some first-team football. There really are few downsides.