St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson will watch Saturday’s game against Motherwell from home after testing positive for Covid-19.
And that means touchline responsibilities at McDiarmid Park have been passed over to first-team coach Steven MacLean.
Former striker MacLean’s message was clear in the build-up: “Go and get three points for the manager”.
He has been in regular contact with Davidson to best prepare the team – there are no other Covid worries – for the crunch league fixture in Perth.
“We’ve spoken loads already,” said MacLean, who will have experienced Alex Cleland and Paul Mathers by his side.
“He’ll be watching the game obviously and if he needs to get a message to us there will be a phone there. The same goes for half-time.
“I’ll speak to him then to talk about what I think and he thinks and see if he wants to change anything.
“With myself, Alex and Paul we’ve got plenty of experience between us.
“It’s a great incentive for us – go and get three points for the manager.”
MacLean added: “Covid has been with us for a while now.
“We’ve been a bit fortunate – and the club has done well – that this situation hasn’t happened before.
“But we’ve planned for it happening. We’ll be ready. The players are prepared. We’ve done the work.
“We know what’s expected and what we have to do. We’ve told the players what they need to hear and worked on what the gaffer wanted us to work on.”
MacLean needed no reminding about the pressing requirement for three points.
“It’s a big game – we’ve got eight cup finals left and this is the first of them,” he said.
“We’re desperate for the points. Obviously they’re more important than the performance but hopefully we get both.
“We want to take advantage of having back to back home games.
“The fans have been excellent at home and away. They’ve got right behind us. It’s made a real difference.
“I’ve been in relegation fights at other places when the fans have been booing. It can have an impact.
“But since the turn of the year our fans have been fantastic. The players have given them more as well.”
MacLean’s playing career with Saints ended in style against this weekend’s opposition. A hat-trick in a 5-1 Fir Park win.
“I remember it well,” he smiled. “I have some good scoring memories.
“Hopefully, one of our players can get a couple of goals and that will help us.”
A passionate player on the park, MacLean knows he needs to keep his cool on the sidelines.
“You are passionate and you will say and do things at times,” he said.
“But it is important you keep calm and make good decisions.”
The Steelmen pitch up in Perth on a poor run of form – and haven’t won in the league in 2022. Saints have an outside chance of catching 10th place but they require a very impressive run of results for that to happen.