Liam Craig is enjoying an Indian summer of success with St Johnstone as he looks to secure what would be a remarkable cup double on Saturday.
The 34-year-old midfielder, in his second spell with the Perth club after initially joining on loan from Falkirk in 2007, won the first medal of his career in February when Callum Davidson’s men beat Livingston 1-0 in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden Park.
St Johnstone return to the national stadium to take on Hibernian in the Scottish Cup final and Craig, who signed a six-month deal last summer before penning a one-year extension in March, could not be happier.
He said: “It incredible. When I came back six years ago I could never have envisaged that we would go and win a cup never mind a double.
“The club had just won the Scottish Cup and the team was changing quite dramatically as well.
“I thought my day in the sun was at the end of February and now I have another opportunity.
“You wait the best part of 18 seasons to get one cup final and the second one comes along two months later.
“At 34 you probably do appreciate it a lot more than maybe if you are 24.
“Signing a six-month contract at the start of this season, I wasn’t sure where I was going to be in January, let alone at the end of February, at Hampden.
“So to be talking about a cup double is incredible.
“It is something as a club we are really proud of but now we want to go and win the double and what a season that would be.”
Craig is all the more grateful for the late successes given that he was at a crossroads in his career six years ago after leaving Hibernian.
He said: “When I Ieft Hibs at 28, I couldn’t get a trial.
“I had a couple of training sessions with Falkirk. Peter Houston was brilliant in that regard, bringing me in but he told me right away there was no money to sign me.
“James Fowler was at Queen of the South, he offered me training facilities but again there was not money to sign me so I didn’t really know where my career was going to go.
“Part-time was a real option, maybe the only option, there were a few offers from abroad but in reality they were probably not the best. I didn’t know where my career was going.
“You have a wife and two kids and you certainly haven’t made the money people you think you’ve made.
“You have to pay bills and have the same worries as everyone else so there is a part of you that thinks that if you are going down the part-time route, what am I going to do full-time?
“I remember John Hughes, manager of Inverness at the time, saying the penny will drop one day in terms of your career and what you have got and that was probably a moment for me.
“St Johnstone was a club I knew and they knew what sort of character and person I was so I don’t think they were really taking a chance on me, they knew what I was going to be like in the dressing room and on the pitch.
“Sometimes you just get a club that fits you and I have said many times in the past, me and St Johnstone are a good fit and it has been an incredible 11 or 12 years I have been associated with the club.”
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