That was the word Tommy Wright used when asked to explain how two previously peripheral performers had suddenly elevated themselves to become two of the most effective players in the country in the early weeks of the campaign. Trust, explained the St Johnstone manager, had given both Nigel Hasselbaink and David Wotherspoon the confidence to apply their abilities and stripped away the fear that hindered them last season; the former at McDiarmid Park and the latter at Hibernian before being released and returning to his hometown club.
Certainly, there was a freedom about the manner in which both played amid a hugely impressive St Johnstone performance against Ross County. Wotherspoon, stationed on the right of a central midfield three, has immediately assumed the role of conductor and brought an unaccustomed spark to a hitherto diligent, if unspectacular, area of the Perth team. Freed from the tyranny of a demanding Easter Road crowd, the 23-year-old now constantly demands the ball, drifting into space and embroidering the play as well as taking responsibility for many of his new side's set pieces; one of which he converted for a splendid second goal. Even a spurned penalty kick did not dull his desire.
"Maybe it's just the right club for him at the right time," said Stevie Banks, the 41-year-old coach who was summoned to start in place of the injured Allan Mannus but did not have a save to make. "I was surprised he was allowed to leave Hibs, but he's come in and fitted well with the boys and we allow him to play and show what he is capable of."
Hasselbaink, meanwhile, may have finally appreciated how to expand his sporadic moments of majesty into a more meaningful menace. His beautifully-taken goal, flicking the ball in with his heel after making an intelligent near-post run, has always been within the diminutive Dutchman's capabilities but, this time, the clever conversion lent him a swagger, the 22-year-old drawing himself up to his full 5ft 6in, puffing out his chest and proving a pest to an assortment of haunted defenders in his roving role as part of an attacking trident. One spin away from a befuddled Steven Saunders on the touchline was gallus; a second attempt, when he flicked the ball past the full-back with his heel before barrelling into the box, deserved a greater stage.
Those two are not the only young players thriving under Wright's command. Stevie May has attracted much of the attention after a couple of goals and caught the eye again, linking well with Hasselbaink and the under-appreciated Steven MacLean and taking his own counter well, using defender Ben Gordon as a shield to deceive Mark Brown. Peterborough continue to cast covetous glances in the striker's direction and have maintained the lines of communication, but have not returned with a fresh offer since having a third bid rejected on Wednesday; and the manager insists the time is coming when a deadline will be set for them to either make good on their interest or call off the pursuit.
There could, too, be further transfer activity in Dingwall before the closure of the window, so quietly irate is Derek Adams with the manner in which Ross County have begun the campaign. Three consecutive defeats and the concession of eight goals have alarmed the Highlanders' manager to such a degree that he warned some of those recruited during the summer are at risk of being off-loaded already and that those who served him so well last term are also under scrutiny.
The arrival of eight players during the close season and subsequent recasting of the County team has left a previously fluent side looking disjointed and unsure of themselves, with the defence unsteady, midfield unbalanced and the attack blunt. On Saturday, too, Adams' team appeared much more open than the one that finished fifth last term, almost as if some of their defensive solidity has been sacrificed in the quest to improve on their scoring stats. The full-backs, for example, were dreadfully exposed, with Saunders and Gordon repeatedly isolated against May and Hasselbaink, and the lack of a sitting midfielder caused problems for centre-backs Scott Boyd and Branislav Micic.
Adams spoke of County being bullied and of certain players letting him down by making basic mistakes. The implication was that these were men he thought he could trust. Clearly, that currency works in more than one way.