Denny has the bit between his teeth after injury

Denny Johnstone says the fact he properly celebrated after scoring for the reserves on Monday showed how much it meant to him to make his playing comeback after over four months out.

The hitman has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury at the end of a training session during his loan stint with St Johnstone last season.

He made a long-awaited return to action in this week’s reserve win at Falkirk, bagging a brace in a 45-minute runout, and says he has never felt as motivated at any point in his career as he does now.

Speaking to media officer Jonathan Mitchell, Johnstone said: “It must be about four and a half months because the injury happened during the Premiership split when I was at St Johnstone.

“It’s been a long slog but I’m delighted to be back in amongst it now. It felt brilliant, even the build up to the game and getting back into the swing of things you do to prepare for a match.

“I’ve missed all of that and it was brilliant to get back into the usual routine of getting out there, getting stripped, and playing again.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and the fact I got the goal early on just calmed me down a little bit and made sure the knee never came into my mind and I was able to play freely.

“With everything that goes on with an injury, and getting injured when you’re out of contract as well, to score, even though it was a reserve game, was a feeling of delight.

“Boys don’t usually celebrate scoring in a reserve game, to be honest, so that was probably a bit much. The picture of me celebrating showed the emotion coming out.

“And you’ll probably see more of it as well to be fair because this is the most motivation I’ve had in my career. I’m really determined to get back on track.

“My last spell at Morton was a good season for me, and things obviously haven’t quite worked out the way I wanted in the last couple of seasons. I’m so determined to kick on again.”

The 23-year-old scored a double inside 26 minutes against the Bairns, and he took a real sense of satisfaction from his second goal.

He explained: “I was pleased with the way I took the goals; there was a bit of variety. I do actually always enjoy scoring headers – I get a good buzz off of that.

“I think there are going to be a lot of crosses into the box this season, the way that we’ve started we’ve worked the balls into wide areas quite frequently, so hopefully I can replicate that in the first team.”

In terms of a first-team comeback, an optimistic Johnstone has declared himself ready to be involved in the matchday squad against Ross County on Saturday but knows manager Ray McKinnon might consider it too early.

He added: “There was no negative reaction and I was able to get involved in training on Tuesday. It’s down to the manager if he sees me ready for the matchday squad because it’s different having that match sharpness.

“But I’ve declared myself fit, ready and available if he wants [to name me as a substitute], and it’s just down to the manager to make that decision.”


Image: Gary Bradley