His head told him the move to Wigan Athletic was the next step he needed to take up the football ladder.
But Jason Kerr still has his heart set on a return to St Johnstone down the line.
The double-winning captain’s status as an icon of the most successful Perth team ever is cast in stone.
And now the 24-year-old’s sights are set on establishing himself in the English leagues and playing for his country.
Then one day, he can hopefully go back to where it all began.
“It was a really hard decision and I had to speak to a lot of people about it but I came to the conclusion that this was the best next step for my career,” said Kerr, who moved to Wigan on deadline day for £600,000.
“I was never going to force a move.
“It was important for me that St Johnstone got a good fee for me. I’m glad they got money they can use.
“I’d been concentrating on my football in the first few weeks of the season and leading the club out for those European games was really important to me.
“We had two very hard ties, which we just fell short in, but it was such a great experience.
WATCH: Jason Kerr's penalty puts St Johnstone 1-0 up 👇 pic.twitter.com/riD4Si0QWE
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) August 5, 2021
“Scoring that penalty against Galatasaray was the pinnacle of my career along with lifting the two cups – even though it wasn’t the best of connections!
“I’ve always had my heart set on going down south and playing at the big grounds down there.
“I can remember watching Wigan in the Premier League and winning the FA Cup when I was younger. They’re a massive club.
“It’s daunting but exciting.
“It wouldn’t have felt right going to another Scottish club. I couldn’t have done that to St Johnstone after all the success we’ve had.
“St Johnstone is all I’ve ever known. It’s my club.”
Mum’s mixed emotions
Kerr added: “Of course I would love to come back later in my career.
“I’ve had so many lovely messages on Twitter and Facebook from fans. So has my mum. It’s actually been really emotional.
“Mum’s got the same mixed emotions as me. People might think that she just supports me but she’s become a massive St Johnstone fan and has made a lot of friends through the club.
“She’ll remain a supporter, I know that. And I’m sure she’ll keep going to some games.
“I’m going to miss so many people connected with St Johnstone and, like I say, hopefully one day I can come back. I really mean it.
“It’s crazy to think that we’ve made history. I think it will maybe properly sink in now that I’ve left.
“A few of the boys at Wigan have asked me about it, which tells you that this wasn’t just something that made headlines in Scotland.”
It was one career peak after another for Kerr over the last six months but the troughs have also helped turn him into the player he is now.
“There have been downs as well as all the highs,” said the McDiarmid academy product who arrived as a central midfielder from Tynecastle Boys Club.
“When I first got the captaincy I knew there were a lot of doubters out there saying: ‘Is he too young? Does he have enough experience?’
“And I got off to a bad start – one of my first games was the hammering at Celtic.
“But I kept my head down and I couldn’t have done that without the support of the manager at the time and the likes of Liam Craig, who has probably helped me more than anybody in my career.
“Callum Davidson has been massive for my career as well. There were times last season when he could have left me out – after I was sent off at St Mirren, for example.
“When I came back from injury and Covid, he stuck by me. He’s up there as well.”