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St Johnstone 2 St Mirren 0: Striking portrait needs frame of reference to read beyond broad brushstrokes

THE pulled-back hair revealed a face of Scottish football.

St Johnstone's Murray Davidson and St Mirren captain Jim Goodwin appeal to the referee
St Johnstone's Murray Davidson and St Mirren captain Jim Goodwin appeal to the referee

There have been enough of those already this season to satisfy an Andy Warhol revival, although an image of Stevie May will probably only be captured by two colours in this campaign. He would score his 19th goal - 16 of which have come from 27 appearances this season - in the blue and white of St Johnstone on Saturday, a sum which can be added to his value to the Perth side and the transfer fee which will be demanded should another club make a move for the 21-year-old.

A forward who seems so partial to scoring regularly in Scottish football will always be placed in the full glare of speculation and May accumulated 35 goals during loan spells at first Alloa Athletic, then Hamilton Academical in the previous two seasons.

It has become tempting to outline a career for him in England, but May's future will not simply be painted by numbers; a contract extension signed in October tying him to St Johnstone until the summer of 2015.

The Scotland under-21 internationalist will earn a transfer soon enough, but he does not need to run for it.

May will eventually dart in behind a defence and out of the Scottish game but he is unlikely to make such a move during this transfer window. There seems an intention instead to practise in Perth between now and the end of the season.

It has been easy enough to become acquainted with his strengths - May scored his side's second goal against St Mirren at the weekend with an assured, deliberate finish - although the striker would appear more eager to get to know his vulnerabilities. The 21-year-old lives with a personal trainer and last summer enlisted his flatmate to help him bolster his young physique.

He would return to McDiarmid Park as a player proven in the lower leagues and with the brawn to carry his form into the top flight - holding off St Mirren's Marc McAusland long enough on Saturday to slip a shrewd pass to Nigel Hasselbaink, who almost scored from it. "Stevie is getting better every week," said the St Johnstone forward. "We need to keep this team together and [if we can keep] Stevie May then he will give us an excellent chance to get more goals."

Hasselbaink was speaking on behalf of his team, with May made aware of the benefits of that arrangement before he signed his extension. He has found prominence as part of the St Johnstone first team but May has not always shown distinction once you read between the team lines.

The striker has been unable to score against either Celtic or Aberdeen this season and has found the net just once against Motherwell. Those three sides have found experience to be a strong defence against his youthful endeavour and May will improve by playing against them regularly, not least if his side are able to guard their place in the top six of the SPFL Premiership.

Stephane Bahoken will try to find reward from being part of the Scottish top flight too, after being made to return on loan to St Mirren. The initial agreement which brought him from Nice had been cancelled by the Paisley club last month and the French side had a new agreement reportedly put in place with SC Bastia, yet a ruling restricting players from representing three clubs in one campaign has precipitated his return to St Mirren, and Bahoken made a second-half cameo on Saturday.

"I won't go into the ins and outs, but Nice have insisted," said Danny Lennon, the St Mirren manager. "He has come back with a hunger and he showed a bit of that [on Saturday]."

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