St Johnstone legends will have approved of young defenders going toe to toe at Motherwell

© SNSJason Kerr battles with Motherwell's Ryan Bowman.
Jason Kerr battles with Motherwell's Ryan Bowman.

There would have been nods of approval from two St Johnstone legends in the main stand at Fir Park on Saturday.

Scottish Cup-winning duo Dave Mackay and Frazer Wright were at the Motherwell match in the wake of their recent sacking as the management team at Stirling Albion.

And the sight of young defenders Jason Kerr and Liam Gordon continuing a proud tradition of Perth players happy to get involved in the darker side of the game, will have sat well with the pair of them.

The class of 2014 may be fading into Perth folklore but the new breed are showing that their influence lives on.

Liam Craig, who is one of the few experienced members of the Saints squad to be part of both eras, said: “Big Fraz and Cuptie were at the game and they’d have been impressed with the defence.

“They were guys who put their bodies on the line in both boxes to keep the ball out of the net or to score a goal. That’s what has helped bring us success.

“Gordy battled on despite fears he had broken his nose and Jason popped up with that late winner.

“Joe also needed stitches to a head cut.

“There are times when you know it is going to be physically demanding.

“Maybe I am old school but I believe first and foremost if you’re playing at the back you have to defend. That is what you are judged on.

“The boys at the back would have been hurting even more than the rest of us after the Celtic defeat.

“So it was great for Jason especially to keep a clean sheet and get the winner. It made for a better weekend for us all.”

Craig, who set up Kerr’s winner, added: “The manager warned we would have to stand up to Motherwell’s physical approach if we wanted to win the game.

“The lads at the back especially did just that and the rest of the team fed off it.

“Motherwell are a big physical side but we matched them.

“It was important we played as well. We did that and were definitely playing better football as the game went on.

“In the end we thoroughly deserved our win. And there’s no better time to score a winner than in the last minute.

“Out-and-out defenders like Steven Anderson, Frazer and Dave have had a big influence on the young lads like Jason and Liam, who have been around here for a few years now.

“These guys have epitomised what this club is all about, along with others like Chris Millar, Murray Davidson and Steven MacLean.”

Frazer Wright and Dave Mackay in action in their Saints days.

Saints have a good chance of making it back-to-back league wins against St Mirren at McDiarmid Park on Saturday and no drop-off in intensity will be allowed.

Craig said: “The big thing was to bounce back from the Celtic defeat and now we have to press on before the next international break.

“Take Celtic and Rangers out of it and we haven’t been doing badly.

“Now we are at home again and looking to build on the win at Motherwell. We have to be hard to beat at home if we are to have a good season.

“St Mirren have a new manager looking to win games.

“I thought they were excellent against Celtic and probably feel a bit hard done by with one of Kilmarnock’s goals at the weekend.

“They will come here seeing it as a game they can win so we have to stand up to them and get our attacking players on the ball.”