Young St Johnstone star Max Kucheriavyi has thanked his team-mates and the Perth public for their heartfelt support during the war in Ukraine.
The 20-year-old has had to endure the torment of the destruction Russia is inflicting on his homeland from afar.
The local community and the McDiarmid Park dressing room have put their arms around Kucheriavyi.
And it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) August 24, 2022
Asked in an interview with Sky Sports how important that has been, he said: “Especially the first few days.
“They saw I was going through tough times and Liam Gordon (club captain) and everyone in the changing room really helped me.
“They made sure I was feeling well and if I needed any support they would be there for me.
“The club, the town and Scottish people in general showed help and support.
“Even during away matches you could see Ukraine flags all over the stands. I know that a lot of Ukrainian people moved to Scotland and I’m sure they feel welcome here.
“I didn’t expect as much support as I got. It makes me feel really warm and grateful for what the Scottish people and club do for me.”
🗣️ "The first few weeks I probably didn't sleep a single night. It makes me feel really warm & grateful for what the Scottish people and club do for me."
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) October 6, 2022
Kucheriavyi, who impressed as a second half substitute in Saints’ 2-1 midweek defeat to Kilmarnock and will hope to play against Celtic at the weekend, is grateful that all his family members are safe.
And his heart goes out to those for whom the news has been much worse.
“The first few weeks I probably didn’t sleep a single night,” he said. “I was on my phone for 24 hours a day just checking the news and trying to keep in touch with as many people as I could.
“You never know what could happen to them and I was really worried.
“They had to leave Kyiv in the first few days because it was dangerous and they moved to my grandparents but now it’s getting better.
“I haven’t been home for a year and a half but I’m really grateful that I’ve still got a place to go because I know that a lot of people lost their houses and lost their families.
“Sometimes I see photos on the internet and I don’t know how to react. I feel a big range of emotions.”