Snap predictions of St Johnstone’s demise are not hard to find on the back of two star men heading to England on transfer deadline day.
But a veteran who has seen plenty of influential players depart in a Perth career that will soon take him to all-time record appearance status, believes the McDiarmid Park foundations are rock solid.
Liam Craig, just four games away from going past Steven Anderson’s club landmark, insisted that St Johnstone are in a “really good place”.
And those tasked with replacing Jason Kerr and Ali McCann – like those who had to fill the boots of Stevie May, Michael O’Halloran, Dave Mackay, Steven MacLean and many others – will prove it.
“You go through our team and there are plenty of boys with experience – Zander (Clark), Liam (Gordon), David (Wotherspoon) and Stevie (May),” said Craig.
“They know how the club works and that’s why I don’t think there are massive concerns.
“It will take time to adjust to losing your captain and arguably your best player but others will step up. It’s a great opportunity for the younger ones.
“People are probably bored of me saying it but the success of this squad is down to the squad, never more so than last season.
“It will be the same moving forward.”
Craig has also been impressed with the calibre of the new recruits – two of them in his area of the team.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) September 9, 2021
“Ali (Crawford) is 30 now so he comes with good experience,” said the former Falkirk and Hibs man.
“I remember him as a 17-year-old when we first played together. We had a laugh with him about that.
“It is disappointing for Cammy to get injured because right away we saw in training what a good addition he was going to be.
“Hopefully he can get back quickly. When I played against him he gave us plenty of problems.
“He has loads of energy, he’s good on the ball and he has that wee nasty side to him you need to play in the middle of the park.
“I think those two are going to do well for us.
“We still have a good squad. There are a lot of players still here from last season.
“It is up to us to create a spirit and togetherness to kick us on and start getting wins in the league.
“The continuity in the squad has always been important, even if you go back to the team which won the league and got promotion back in 2009.
“It’s good for younger players to see how the club works. It makes the transition a lot easier.
“Big Liam Gordon has been in meeting rooms with myself and Jason this season, seeing how everything works. It is massively important.
“There has always been a good dressing room here.
“You look at the amount of games players have played for St Johnstone over the last 11 or 12 years and it certainly proves that.
“Players who have come to the club have really bought into what it is all about.
“It has given us success.
“The club’s still in a really good place. There’s a lot of potential here.”
A win or draw against Rangers would be the ideal way to sweep away any lingering transfer window negativity.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) September 6, 2021
“We need to get back to the performance levels we were showing at the end of last season and that we’ve shown in spells this season,” said Craig.
“If we can hit those levels and find that consistency then I have no worries about the wins coming.
“There has been a turnover of players in terms on new ones coming in and younger ones coming through so we’re in a transitional period.
“But it’s important that we all grasp quickly just how important this month is to us in terms of the games and in terms of the cup if we want to go and be successful this season.”