Both players started out with Edinburgh boys’ clubs – Kerr at Tynecastle and McCann with Hutchison Vale – before they were snapped up by Saints and given a chance of a professional football career.
The role model effect for youngsters coming up behind them is one manager Callum Davidson believes will be crucial for player development and revenue income at McDiarmid Park in the years to come.
“It shows what a club like St Johnstone can do,” he said.
“There’s two players who have come through our academy – both came here from boys’ clubs, albeit at different ages.
“They were both talented but raw.
“We gave them an opportunity to come and play and they’ve grasped that opportunity.
“There’s a message to good young players – come to St Johnstone and you’ll get your chance.
“Liam Craig and Steven MacLean were telling some of our boys that yesterday – look at Ali and Jason as examples of what you can achieve. They have showcased our academy.”
Just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone @StJohnstone for everything they’ve done for me since I’ve been at the club. The players, staff, fans and everyone else involved have all been brilliant to me and I honestly can’t thank them enough 💙 pic.twitter.com/NKwQrerAmc
— Ali McCann (@alimccann01) August 31, 2021
It goes without saying that two players who were St Johnstone Hampden heroes have been given glowing references from their now former head coach.
“Jason came to us from Tynecastle Boys as a raw, young central midfielder and he leaves as the captain of a double-winning team,” said Davidson.
“It’s all credit to him as a person.
“He’s a fantastic professional and a great player.
“I’m obviously disappointed to have lost him but it’s an understandable situation.
“He’s 24 now and was with us for seven years. He gave the club fantastic service in that time.
“He wasn’t going to stay beyond this season and we knew that was the situation.
“We wish him all the best and he’ll be a hard man to replace.
McCann’s fast track
“Ali’s accelerated even faster.
“Look at where he was two years ago and now he’s an established international, showing what he can do against top teams.
“Last year he gave me great service – he adapted to a different position. Ali understands the game really well. You ask him to do a job and he does it.
“I was probably a bit more disappointed to lose Ali due to the nature of the timing.
“Again, that’s football.”