St Mirren have called Cammy MacPherson back from his loan spell at St Johnstone after he agreed a pre-contract deal with the Perth side.
MacPherson moved to Callum Davidson’s side in August on what was meant to be a season-long deal but St Mirren have exercised a clause to end the loan early, saying St Johnstone will need to buy him if they want him now.
When fit, the 23-year-old has been a regular starter for the Perth Saints, who are fighting a relegation battle after a run of nine straight league defeats took them to the bottom of the Premiership table.
St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin said that allowing MacPherson to remain on loan would be “doing a rival a favour”.
“We recalled Cammy from his loan but there are ongoing negotiations there between our club and St Johnstone,” he said.
“They’ve offered Cammy a pre-contract which we believe he has agreed to. But we can’t be doing one of our Premiership rivals any favours.
“So if they want Cammy they’ll need to pay a fee to come and get him or he will be staying with us.”
Goodwin was speaking after his side won 2-0 at Ayr United in the Scottish Cup. The manager had left talismanic attacker Jamie McGrath out of the squad for the second match running.
McGrath as been linked with a number of clubs this window and is out of contract at the end of the season. Goodwin felt his situation meant it was better to concentrate on players with a future in Paisley.
“It’s dragging on a bit that one,” Goodwin said. “Jamie is still a St Mirren player. I just felt it was right to keep him away from it today and go with the squad that did so well at Tannadice the other night.
“If something happens in the coming days then so be it. We’re cracking on with the boys that we’ve got who are committed to what we’re trying to do here.”