Liam Craig believes the success of the St Johnstone youth conveyor belt has been overlooked.
The veteran midfielder has seen top flight rivals acclaimed for producing their home-grown stars.
But Craig insists the Betfred Cup finalists haven’t got the credit they deserve for introducing a clutch of players to the first team under bosses Tommy Wright and Callum Davidson.
“It will be frustrating for the club,” said Craig (34), who has been coaching farmed out youngsters under Davidson.
“I have been helping the loan players this year and I try to tell the likes of young Cammy Ballantyne – who has been at Montrose – to look at who is in the first team now.
“That could be him in a couple of years.
“Ali McCann, Zander Clark, Liam Gordon, Jason Kerr, Chris Kane and Stevie May all went out on loan.
“They benefited from those experiences and came back knowing the game.
“It is brilliant for St Johnstone to have so many youth players coming through into the first team.
“It is also good for the younger players in the academy just now.
“They should be looking at that and going ‘that could be me in a couple of years.’
“They are going to get opportunities, as the club has shown.
“But it is up to them to take that opportunity.
“When you look at the seven or eight boys in the first team just now, they have done that.
“They are either going to be very successful for St Johnstone or going to make the club a lot of money.”
Craig has also seen Saints get players’ careers back on track in his time at McDiarmid.
And he suspects recent arrival Charlie Gilmour (21) will be the next to seize his chance with the Perth club.
The former Scotland Under-19 midfielder has penned an initial deal through to the summer, with his sights set on a longer-term stay.
“If you have played in the Arsenal and Norwich first team then you obviously have a bit about you,” said Craig.
“It will be great for the likes of myself and Murray Davidson to help Charlie.
“The good thing about him is that he’s come here and he wants to learn and he wants to do well for himself and the club.
“Charlie will fit in well here and get the opportunity.
“It is up to him when he gets the opportunity to take it.”