Liam Craig set for milestone appearance for St Johnstone (and he wants to make plenty more)

© SNSLiam Craig.
Liam Craig.

Only Steven Anderson will be ahead of Liam Craig in terms of St Johnstone appearances after today’s clash with local rivals Dundee.

The Perth midfielder will go past Alan Main by playing at Dens Park this afternoon in game number 362.

Even though his current team-mate’s 440 will take some catching, Craig is hoping to be at McDiarmid Park for plenty more matches in Saints’ colours.

And by thriving in a new holding role, he is giving himself a chance of doing just that.

“I’m into the last six months of my contract now and of course I would love to stay longer,” said the former Falkirk and Hibs man.

“Maybe the key to lasting so long has been my versatility.

“I played left-back when I first joined, then became an attacking midfielder, left-mid, right-mid and even off the front and now I’m playing in that deep role in front of the back four.

“I am enjoying that role now, sitting in front of Jason Kerr and Joe Shaughnessy with boys who are good on the ball up ahead of me.”

On today’s landmark appearance, Craig noted: “It will be a great honour to get to a milestone like that and at the start of the season I knew there was a chance I could overtake Alan.

“To be up there with Alan and Steven Anderson is fantastic. I have been lucky to play with the pair of them.

“Both are legends here so it’s fantastic to split the pair of them.

“Ando is about 80 appearances ahead of me so I doubt I’ll ever get past him, but Murray Davidson is over the 300 too.

“I think that says everything about the club.

“I have loved it here. When I came on loan I bought into what Derek McInnes wanted to do and that’s why I came back.

“There were Premiership clubs interested but I wanted to be part of taking this club into the top league.

“That was the selling point. Del was very clear in what he planned to do and we achieved it.”

The players may have changed in Craig’s two spells at McDiarmid but the dressing room ethos certainly hasn’t.

He said: “Over the years, it has been brilliant – the club has been great to me and my family.

“I’d like to think on the park I have given St Johnstone something back and it has worked well for the pair of us.

“The one thing that has been constant has been the spirit in the dressing-room.

“Loads of players have come and gone but we always had that nucleus of senior players like Chris Millar, Murray, Frazer Wright, Brian Easton, Dave Mackay, Ando, Steven MacLean and others.

“So people who have come here have had to buy into what we’re doing and even though the faces have changed the bond there is the same.

“That has been a foundation of the success and I’m just happy to have played a part in the last ten years.”

Meanwhile, Davidson will get his knee scanned, as Saints seek to establish how long the the influential midfielder will be out injured.

Perth boss Tommy Wright has confirmed that he will definitely miss today’s game but there is understandable concern beyond that, given the fact that it is the same knee that has been operated on before.

“Murray’s knee has settled down but we are having to get it scanned,” Wright reported. “He previously had surgery on it.

“He will definitely miss the trip to face Dundee.

“Blair Alston has a bit of a dead leg so it’s wait and see with him.”

Wright added: “We know how difficult it was against St Mirren and how tough Dundee are going to be.

“Jim (McIntyre) has a difficult job on his hands and it is a big transfer window coming up for him.

“I’m expecting Jim to give it a real go at keeping Dundee up.

“They will want to ask more questions of you because Jim is a proven manger, someone who has over 500 games and knows the league inside out.

“He is an honest manager who doesn’t hide behind things and puts his hand up when he makes mistakes. Jim calls it as it is.

“I’m sure he is looking to finish the year off with three points. But so are we.

“We want to finish off 2018 on a real high. If we can get to 34 points after 20 games that will be our best return. I’m not sure we have even had 31 points at this stage.

“We want to keep this run of away wins going. We have been incredible on the road.”