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Collin SamuelCOLLIN SAMUEL is determined to hit the ground running after the summer break, writes Gordon Bannerman.

The St Johnstone striker opted to cut short a holiday in his native Trinidad and Tobago to step-up his training regime.

Last term, the one-time Falkirk, Dundee United and Toronto attacker was frustrated by injuries which reined-in his appearances.

He bounced back from cartilage surgery before the curtain came down but admits he still wasn’t operating at full speed.

For the past fortnight, Samuel, who signed a new 12-month deal before the close season, has been grafting daily at Stirling University with physio Nick Summersgill and long-term injured players on the comeback trail.

Yesterday, he said: “I’m feeling good. Hopefully the decision to come back early will pay off.

“I wanted to get in strengthening work with the physio before pre-season starts. I managed a week in the gym back home but didn’t want to risk overdoing it.

“There was nothing much I could do about the injury last season. I was getting back to my best and playing regularly when I suffered the knee problem.

“But I want to make sure I am as fit and strong as possible for the new season, starting against Hearts in the first game.

“But for the injuries I’m sure I would have scored more than eight goals.

“It was a good season for the club but we all want to build on it. We are hard to beat when we are playing at a high tempo.

“We have a good squad and that was important last season. And we will have a few more new faces in I’m sure.”

Former Scotland forward Scott Dobie has already signed-up and Samuel stressed: “You need competition to bring out the best in you. I’m looking forward to pushing myself and getting goals for Saints.”

Meanwhile, the Perth club are edging closer to finalising one more glamour home game in advance of the new season. They already have visits scheduled by a Manchester United XI for Alan Main’s testimonial and Bolton.