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Collin SamuelCollin Samuel is straining at the leash for a first-team return at Hamilton tomorrow.

It would herald the Trinidad and Tobago World Cup striker’s first start of 2010, after a troublesome combination of knee and calf injuries.

The attacker, who missed out on 17 games, made an immediate impact from the bench against Falkirk in midweek and yesterday insisted he’s ready and willing to go in against Accies as Saints bid to wrestle the final top six berth away from Hearts.

Samuel, who is one of several Perth stars going out of contract in the summer, said: “It’s good to be back playing again. I’ve been out for much longer than I expected. My last start was against Kilmarnock in early December.

“I had the cartilage operation but suffered a calf strain after that. I think it might have been down to training on the astroturf. I tried to test it a couple of times to come back but it wasn’t happening for me. I had to rest it for a couple of weeks.

“But I feel happy with my progress and we can take it from here.

“I feel ready to start now and I’d be up for it if I was selected to face Hamilton.”

Samuel, with seven strikes to his credit, was the Perth club’s most prolific goalscorer before injury but while he’s been laid-up he’s seen midfielder and travelling companion Liam Craig motor past him.

The dread-locked centre gives the impression that’s a state of affairs he wants to correct. And that could spell good news for Saints in their current quest.

“Liam is the top scorer but he’s only two ahead of me and he will probably get a couple more.

“It could all change in one game. If opportunities come along I have to take them. I’m dying for a hat-trick. I’m pushing hard to get into double figures so I have to remain fit and keep myself in the team with my performances.”