Mar 29 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Tuesday
LIAM Craig yesterday signed a two-year extension to keep him at Perth until the summer of 2013.
The midfielder, who is expecting a baby with wife Laura within the month, is the latest player to commit himself long-term to St Johnstone, providing valuable continuity at the club.
Delighted manager Derek McInnes said: “Liam was my first signing as manager when I brought him in on loan from Falkirk.
“We are delighted he has committed himself to the club for another two years. It has been a bit stop-start for him this year but we see Liam as an important player for us in the dressing room and out on the pitch.
“He is only 24, with scope for improving and I know he feels that way. We are determined to get the very best out of him and the element of consistency that every players strives for. He is left-sided, he has a great left foot for passing, shooting and scoring goals and those are rare attributes.
“Liam loves being at the club and, like others, he wants to be part of future success at St Johnstone. He has played a big part in the progress we have made over the last couple of years and I am convinced he is ready to take his game to the next stage.
“He has been doing a lot of things better this season but we need to exploit the goal threat he gives us from the middle of the park. Liam is a player that can affect matches in a positive way.”
Craig, with 24 goals the second highest scorer on the Perth staff, is the latest to pledge his future to Saints, with key personnel like Peter Enckelman, Dave Mackay, Jody Morris, Murray Davidson, Chris Millar and Steven Anderson among the players already tied-up.
Craig told PA Sport: “I have had a great three years here since coming on loan from Falkirk. The gaffer and Tony Docherty are staying and that was a big part of my decision as well.
“I wasn’t playing first team football at Falkirk but they brought me here and I have played more than 100 games. It was a no-brainer when the contract extension was offered.
“I want to be a big part of St Johnstone and what the club is trying to achieve. I want to be playing every week and scoring goals. I haven’t been getting goals at the same rate as last season and that has been frustrating but there are 10, hopefully 11 games left.
“We have a lot to look forward to in what is left of this season and looking further ahead,” said Craig, who has bounced back from injury which stalled his campaign.
“The club has been heading in the right direction. We won the First Division and we are trying to break into the top six. I have played in two cup semi-finals against Rangers as a Saints player and lost them both.
“So hopefully it’s third time lucky against Dundee United or Motherwell and we reach the final this time.
“My wife Laura is due to give birth to our first baby a few days after the semi-final. So the timing of the new deal is ideal for me at a time when I was looking for security.”