Richard Foster looked around the Perth dressing room in the summer and suddenly the penny dropped.
He had turned 35 and found himself the oldest player in the Tommy Wright’s St Johnstone squad after the departure of legends like Steven MacLean and Chris Millar.
But, after a solid campaign, the former Rangers and Aberdeen defender has now bagged a 12-month extension and he has no plans to be hang up the boots any time soon.
After being left battered and bruised by three defeats at the hands of Celtic, Foster is hoping to get back on track with a weekend win at Ibrox which would dent Rangers’ title aspirations.
“Ideally you’d want longer than 12 months because this time next year I will be in the same position,” he said.
“But I have to respect the club’s situation.
“I am now the oldest player in the squad and players do start to slow down at some stage and maybe injuries take longer to heal.
“It keeps me on my toes. I am a positive sort of person so I see it as a chance to spur myself on to show I am worth another deal.
“The manager has shown he wants me to stay here and that’s what I wanted.”
Foster is the same age as Scottish Cup winner Steven Anderson, who has been loaned out to Partick Thistle.
“The manager has been reducing the average age of the squad,” he said.
“I always have a joke with Ando because we are both 35.
“I am a few months older than him, although I look much younger!
“I feel as fit and strong as I have ever done.
“I certainly don’t feel old and I want to keep pushing and pushing.
“I play and train the same as I have ever done. I don’t want to be one of those guys that slows down and finds the legs have gone.”
Foster insists Saints will learn from the defeats to Celtic, which culminated in a 5-0 Scottish Cup thrashing.
“The Celtic games were obviously physically demanding. Everyone could see that.
“But it’s also tough mentally and Hamilton probably got us at a good time when they beat us.
“We had been battered for a couple of games and knew Celtic were coming up again.
“But we go to Ibrox under no pressure, with everyone expecting Rangers to win.
“The Rangers players themselves will expect to win and so will their fans.
“They will see themselves as genuine title contenders because Steven Gerrard has recruited well in January and it is close between Celtic and Rangers.
“They have to get the three points to reduce the deficit at the top and pile pressure back on Celtic, who play on Sunday.
“Any player will tell you it’s better to have the points on the board than a game in hand.
“But we have to go there and try to keep the ball, disrupt them and put the Rangers players under even more pressure because of the expectations they have to deal with.
“Hopefully we can feed off any uncertainty and get the result that we want.”
Boss Wright welcomed Foster’s decision to extend his stay.
“It’s good to keep Richard on board,” he said.
“Everyone knows the age of the squad has gone down and as one of the more experienced players he has tried to lead on and off the pitch.
“Richard has been playing well and I am pleased to have got him tied up.”