Another piece of the jigsaw has fallen into place for St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright, with Liam Craig signing a new two-year contract.
The midfielder has been in fine form recently, with his two goals at Motherwell taking the Perth club above Hearts into fourth in the Premiership table in their last match before the international break.
And now Craig has joined the likes of Zander Clark, Richard Foster, David Wotherspoon, Brian Easton, Liam Gordon and Steven MacLean in committing themselves to Saints for next season.
“Liam has signed a new two-year deal and we’re delighted because he’s a vital member of the squad,” said manager Tommy Wright.
“He can play in a number of positions and always chips in with goals throughout the season.
“So things are really taking shape now, we’ve got the majority of the team signed up for next year and that continuity is important.”
Wright has prioritised retaining players who have served him so well in recent times but he is also keen to freshen up his squad in a couple of areas.
“I’ll still be looking for two or three new players in the summer,” he said. “But we’ve done the hard work in getting the players we have signed up again.
“The chairman sees the value of stability and long-term planning.
“But while we’ve got a lot of our work done, the summer is still going to be very important because with Hibs looking like they’re coming up things will get even tougher again next season.”
This is Craig’s second spell with Saints.
And Wright admitted that the way the former Falkirk man conducted himself after signing a pre-contract agreement with Hibs aided Craig’s cause when it came to re-signing him a couple of years ago.
“I didn’t have any qualms about bringing Liam back,” he recalled.
“It didn’t bother me that he’d left for Hibs because he handled the whole thing well.
“He told Steve Lomas what his plans were and still played to a very high level, including scoring in his last game.
“There’s no doubt Hibs are a bigger club so at that time nobody could blame him for taking that opportunity.
“It didn’t work out the way he would have hoped, but to me it was a no-brainer to bring him back when he was available again.
“Life it too short to look at things like that, Liam is a quality player and it was a massive thing for us to get him back here.”
Meanwhile, Wright had good news to report on the injury front.
“Keith Watson has had his operation and he’ll be out for six weeks,” he said.
“That’s a better scenario than we expected because we thought it would be longer, so that’s positive news.
“Chris Kane should be back for the last two or three games of the season, while Steven Anderson and Zander Clark are back training this week.”