Thomson ready to shine for the Saints

Craig Thomson during a visit to former primary school, Parkhill. Picture FPA.
Craig Thomson during a visit to former primary school, Parkhill. Picture FPA.

All of the pre-match talk around McDiarmid Park on Saturday focused on Rangers’ ambitions to secure the services of St Johnstone’s Michael O’Halloran.

And when St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright decided to rest the midfielder for Saturday’s fixture against Hamilton, the rumour mill went into overdrive.

Saints fans are clearly keen not to lose their star man, but will have left the ground content at 4:45p.m. having watched a 20-year-old product of their own youth system fill in with ease and walk away with the man-of-the-match trophy.

Craig Thomson has been with St Johnstone for eight years and is clearly held in high regard by the club.

The Aberhill-based midfielder was handed his first start on Saturday, boss Wright having no qualms that the youngster was more than ready.

Thomson has been prepared for top flight football, and at the turn of last year was farmed out to compete toe to toe with experienced professionals at League Two’s Elgin City.

He’s now ready to make his mark in the nation’s top flight.

Speaking to the Mail on Monday, the former Parkhill and Buckhaven High pupil said: “I thought I did pretty well on Saturday.

“I was nervous to begin with but once I got the ball and got into the game that went away and I relaxed into it.

“From there I was looking to get on the ball and run at defenders.

“I’m a wide player and that’s what my game is all about and I felt I did it ok.”

Although admitting he was nervous before kick-off, Thomson was largely spared the agony of knowing he was to make his first start by his manager.

“We never found out the team until an hour and a half before kick off so I didn’t know until then,” he said.

“I was actually pretty pleased that’s the way it happened because it didn’t give me a lot of time to over think things.

“After the game (which ended in a 0-0 draw) the manager was disappointed that we didn’t get the win but said he was happy with how I’d played.”

It’s agreed in the game that very few players picked up by senior clubs will actually go on to make it at senior level.

Although conceding that he still has a work to do, Thomson’s talent has seen him become one of the minority to come through the youth ranks at a senior football club and reach the first team.

“I don’t think anyone else from my under 14 side is still playing,” he said.

“I’ve seen a lot of players come and go.

“Now I just want to play as many games as I can for St Johnstone.

“We play Celtic away on Saturday and it’s one I’m looking forward to.

“It’ll be great to go there and play.”