Joe Shaughnessy relishes test against Scotland’s top scorer

Joe Shaughnessy has been stationed at centre back recently. Picture: SNS
Joe Shaughnessy has been stationed at centre back recently. Picture: SNS
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St Johnstone defender Joe Shaughnessy is ready for the biggest challenge of his season against in-form Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths.

Manager Tommy Wright has given the former Aberdeen player a run in central defence recently and he has looked the part, but Shaughnessy admits trying to keep the Premiership’s top goalscorer under control will pose a serious test after taking his season’s tally to 27 in midweek.

Shaughnessy said: “Everyone knows what a good player Leigh is. Look at the number of goals he has scored. He recently celebrated his 50th for the club and got a hat-trick in the 8-1 win over Hamilton.

“But every time you play Celtic you expect a test and I enjoy testing myself against the best.”

He added: “I was a central defender when I went to Aberdeen and played at youth level. There is a bit less running than at right-back but playing more centrally there is a lot more to do defensively and you really have to maintain your concentration.”

Wright is set to recall Rangers target Michael O’Halloran after leaving him out of last week’s draw with Hamilton as speculation spiralled.

Shaughnessy said: “I don’t know how it has affected Michael but he has been great in training. Of course you would want him in the team.

“You see how important he is to us. And he is a great out-ball to have when you are under a bit of pressure.”