The camaraderie of the St Johnstone dressing room is helping sustain the Perth players through the coronavirus lay-off, according to Liam Craig.
The McDiarmid Park midfielder, who had seen most things in a long football career at the top level until this pandemic lockdown, revealed that keeping the spirits up of younger team-mates during a period of isolation has been a priority.
“It’s important that we all look out for each other,” said Craig. “Because all of us have different circumstances.
“I’ve got a family at home who can keep me company and that’s keeping me occupied at the moment. But there are some boys who are in their houses or flats alone.
“We’ve got a great dressing room spirit at the club and we’re all in constant communication with each other on WhatsApp and social media.
“We’re all keeping ourselves ticking over so that we’re ready to get going again when we are given the go ahead.
“The boys have been in touch with Bod (fitness coach, Alex Headrick) on a daily basis providing updates on how we’re getting on with our programmes.”
Along with other players and manager Tommy Wright, Craig has been phoning elderly season ticket holders to try and keep their spirits up at a testing time.
“The phone calls have been brilliant,” said the 33-year-old. “And the boys are really enjoying speaking to the season ticket holders.
“We’ve started with elderly fans to begin with but the aim is to try get round as many supporters as possible.
“Some of the fans I’ve spoken to have followed the club through thick and thin. They talk about the times the club was down at the bottom of Scottish football and it puts things into perspective where we are now.
“It’s a great chance for us players to engage with the fans and let them know what we’re up to. We all just want football to come back and particularly for some of the elderly supporters the football is one of the things they look forward to every week as a social event as much as anything.
“We chat with them for however long they want and we speak about football, the general situation we all find ourselves in and make sure they’re doing OK. It might only be a small thing, a five or ten minute phone call, but it has a massive effect.”
Meanwhile, Craig decided to put one of his prized jerseys from the successful 2015/16 season up for auction to raise money for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), the club’s official charity partner, and the Perth & Kinross Foodbank.
The winning bid was £575, which came from a Saints season ticket holder who wishes to remain anonymous.
Craig and the club both pledged to donate £200 to the charities alongside the auction money, with the former Hibs and Falkirk man adding an extra £25 to the pot to round the total sum up to £1,000.
He said: “The response to this was incredible. I want to say a massive thank you to the winning bidder and to all those who shared or made a bid for the jersey themselves.
“To get £575 for the top was unbelievable and we’ve raised double what I’d expected.
“It’s two very worthy causes that will be benefiting from this. Both charities will be under a lot of pressure given the current circumstances so I’m delighted that this auction has been able to help.
“I wanted to give something back to the local community who have all been amazing with not just me, but my family as well, since I arrived at the club.”