May 26 2009 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser
Stuart McCaffrey signs new deal with St Johnstone watched by managing director Stewart Duff
STUART McCaffrey is the latest Saint to sign-up for an extended stay at McDiarmid Park.
Manager Derek McInnes may be holidaying with his family in Florida but that isn’t stopping him pressing ahead with long-term team building plans.
McCaffrey yesterday followed skipper and defensive partner Kevin Rutkiewicz by signing a 12-month contract extension which binds him to St Johnstone until 2011.
It’s an early wedding present for the reliable centre-back, who was an unsung hero for Saints in their title winning season.
And the central defender, who turns 30 this weekend, made it clear he’d love to be around even longer.
“It gives me added security and it’s nice not to have to worry about my future in this financial climate, especially with a wedding planned for next year.
“I was on the golf course and missed the call when the manger phoned. When I saw his name popping up among the voice messages I knew it was either good news or bad news.
“Luckily he was mentioning my contribution last season and stressing that he wanted me to extend my contract. I was made up. This is the icing on the cake.
“Obviously the gaffer isn’t switching off during his holidays. So I’m not sure how popular he will be with his wife!
“I’d like to thank him, chairman Geoff Brown and managing director Stewart Duff. We’ve had a really good 12 months at St Johnstone and hopefully there are more good times to come in the SPL.
“I was delighted to get the chance to extend my current contract. It was what I was hoping for if we enjoyed a good season and secured promotion.
“I was never going to be difficult to deal with.
“I know the financial circumstances facing football clubs right now and quite rightly Saints don’t throw silly money around.
“There are a lot of professional footballers looking for clubs this summer so a new deal is a real bonus.”
McCaffrey hopes he’ll be sitting down this time next year and penning another contract extension.
He explained: “I feel right at home here and that would mean myself and the club have done well in the SPL.”
McCaffrey’s Perth career got off to mixed start, scoring on his debut against Partick Thistle and being sidelined for months with a foot injury picked up in the next game against Raith Rovers.
He arrived on a short-term deal with an understanding that he would linger.
McCaffrey recalled: “It was a bit of a nightmare after picking up that freak injury, especially as the manager made me one of his first signings. I’d been brought in to make a contribution and couldn’t do anything for the team. It was really frustrating.
“I felt a sense of injustice but I’m a real believer that the harder you work the greater the rewards you’ll get. And it was all worth it last season.”
McCaffrey, who spent nearly eight seasons at Inverness Caley Thistle, has been over the course in the SPL.
He said: “In my experience there is less room for error at that level. Mistakes you get away with in the First Division are more likely to be punished. You can’t afford off days, especially against teams in the upper half of the division.”
McCaffrey admits he was disappointed to see his former club relegated at the weekend.
But in the dog-eat-dog world of Scottish football he would love to see Derek McInnes raid the Highland capital for players.
“It’s going to be another big season for us. We have a strong squad but the gaffer will be adding one or two more players over the summer. He has already brought in Dave Mackay and Murray Davidson from Livingston.
“Dave is a good friend of Stevie Milne’s from their Dundee days and I’ve played against him any number of times. He is versatile and while Murray is young he impressed me last season.”
At Saints, McCaffrey is sponsored by two girls from the Inverness club’s office team.
He said: “St Johnstone are my team now but I still have close friends in Inverness and a lot of my family follow them. So I was really disappointed when they failed to stay up.
“In many ways they are a club like St Johnstone, well run and friendly. I know how much hard work went into getting them to the SPL and staying there in recent seasons.
“Relegation will have a severe impact and it is never easy to bounce back quickly. Terry Butcher might have to lose a few players and work with a completely different team next season.
“It’s a real shame but the vultures will be circling. And there are players there I know could come in here and fit in well. Who knows, maybe the manager will pick up one or two of them?”