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St Johnstone will always be ‘we’ to Jason Kerr – who hopes for Hampden final return trip with Ali McCann

Jason Kerr made four successful trips to Hampden last season.
Jason Kerr made four successful trips to Hampden last season.

Jason Kerr was jealous when St Johnstone secured a fifth trip to Hampden Park without him.

And he’s counting on his former team-mates to get the job done in the League Cup last four clash with Celtic so he and fellow departed double legend Ali McCann can reunite with them for the final.

Last season’s captain will be playing against Oxford United with his new club Wigan Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

But then all thoughts will turn to the national stadium.

“I know what the dressing room would have been like that night at Dens Park when the boys got themselves into another semi-final,” said Kerr.

“I knew they would do it. We’ve dominated Dundee in recent times so it was no surprise.

“I was a bit jealous afterwards.

“Hopefully we’ll do it again and get to another final.

“It’s a shame the semi is on the Saturday and not the Sunday so I’ll not be able to make it up.

“Myself and Ali spoke about going to Hampden if it was going to be possible.

“It will just have to wait until the final!”

It will always be ‘we’

Kerr is now a first team regular with the League One promotion hopefuls after an ankle injury he picked up in Istanbul with Saints delayed his debut and the Wigan side kept winning without him.

New career priorities will never change old habits, though.

“I still say ‘we’. It will always be ‘we’,” said Kerr.

“I definitely miss being captain of that team.

“It was a huge honour for me – not only being the one who got to lift the trophy but just leading that side out every week, especially in those big games at Hampden.

“I’m enjoying it down here but I do miss the lads and having Liam Craig telling me what to do!”

The honour of being first in line for the long walk out of the Hampden tunnel will now fall to Liam Gordon – a man perfect for the role, according to Kerr.

“Liam thought he was the skipper already – he used to try and take it off me when I was the captain!” he joked. “I knew it would be him.

“I’m delighted for him. He was born to be the captain of St Johnstone.

“He was brought up in Perth and supported the club. It was a no-brainer.

“I’m sure he’ll lead us to more success because he’s just a natural leader. He loves the club and he’ll love that role.

“Hopefully he can lead the team to another big Hampden win.”

You can pick out countless defining moments in Saints’ double season but coming up with a more significant one than Kerr’s opening goal in the League Cup semi is no easy task.

“We were a bit shaky at the start and took a bit of a battering to be honest,” he reflected.

“Luckily I got on the end of that corner and it relaxed us and settled nerves. After that we dominated them.

“Looking back, I think it was the best football we played all season.

“It could have been a lot more than 3-0 in the end. We were that dominant. The fact they barely had a chance showed how good we were.

“It was the turning point of our season and the same thing could happen again in this match.

“The team’s not playing as well as they would hope at the moment but they’re not losing. That’s a good sign.

“We’ve never been a team that was known for scoring lots of goals but it didn’t stop us winning two trophies.

“I wouldn’t be too worried about that.

“It was the same going into the Hibs semi and we won that one 3-0.

Rooney time again

“I know Celtic are a strong side and it will be tough but hopefully we can use that Hampden experience to our advantage.

“And you can’t argue with the manager’s record. He’s unbelievable at these cup games.

“He still hasn’t lost one with St Johnstone. It’s incredible.”

And there is another man who revels in the role of Hampden hero, of course.

“Rooney will always be remembered for those cup goals,” said Kerr.

“It started at Dunfermline in the quarters and he’s scored in the same round this season at Dundee. Maybe that run will continue at the weekend.

“Teams know what a danger he is but I’m sure he’s got more big goals left in him.”

Glenn Middleton ruled out of St Johnstone’s League Cup semi-final but door is opening for Eetu Vertainen