Craig Thomson has had a taste of Europe with St Johnstone and now wants to savour all that continental competition has to offer.
The super sub came off the bench at Pittodrie on Saturday to help create Saints’ opening goal for Danny Swanson then score the second – his first for the club – in their terrific 2-0 win over Aberdeen.
That eye-catching result, combined with Hearts’ home draw with Partick Thistle, stretched the gap between the Perth men and the Jam Tarts to six points and even ever-cautious boss Tommy Wright now thinks they are only one win away from securing the fourth spot required for European qualification.
As a teenager, the now 22-year-old Thomson was with the St Johnstone squad that flew to Switzerland to face Luzern then to Slovakia to face Spartak Trnava in 2014.
He loved the experience then and is looking for more next season if, or hopefully when, Saints book their place in the first qualifying round draw on June 19.
It would be a remarkable turnaround for the midfielder, who was expecting to stay out on loan at Stranraer until he was recalled by Wright in January.
Thomson said: “We have all been talking about Europe and what it would mean to the lads.
“As soon as we got into that fourth spot we didn’t want to lose it and now we are six clear with four to play.
“It looks like another three points would do it for us.
“It is a great experience for everyone, being in Europe.
“I was in Luzern in Switzerland and also went to Slovakia when we faced Spartak Trnava.
“I even made it on to the bench in Luzern (although not listed as a sub) and that definitely gave me a taste for it.
“So it would be brilliant if I could manage to make an appearance in Europe.
“That would be absolutely massive for me but we have to make sure we get there first.
“Qualifying for Europe is maybe not your aim at the start of the season but once you get into the top six you start to think about it.
“I actually expected to be out on loan for the full season but the manager called me back so now I have gone from playing in League One to possibly playing in Europe next season.
“That is a massive step up.
“I never expected to be coming back into Saints but I just got my head down, worked hard and it has started to pay off in the last few weeks as I’ve gotten on as a sub.
“If that keeps going, maybe I can get a start before the end of the season.”