St Johnstone: Liam Craig says players ‘thriving’ under boss Callum Davidson

St Johnstone midfielder Liam Craig says the players are enjoying life under Callum Davidson
Scottish Premiership: St Johnstone v Aberdeen
Venue: McDiarmid Park Date: 20 August Time: 19:30 BST
Coverage: Listen to commentary on BBC Radio Scotland and follow live updates on the BBC Sport website and app

St Johnstone are “thriving” under new manager Callum Davidson, says midfielder Liam Craig.

The Perth club have taken four points from their three Premiership games, ahead of hosting Aberdeen on Thursday.

“He’s trying to implement a new formation and a new style of play, and the boys are responding to it,” Craig told BBC Scotland’s Sportsound.

Craig, who has already scored this term, added: “Having three up front is going to cause defences problems.”

The tweaked formation means extra work for Craig, but it’s a role he is relishing.

“It does, essentially when I’ve been mainly ‘a sitter’ for the last couple of seasons. I’ve managed to get in the box a few times and scored [in the opening day draw at Dundee United] and set up a goal at the weekend [in the win at Kilmarnock],” he said.

“So far, the boys are enjoying playing and we’re making it difficult for teams. We’re carrying a threat going forward as well, so, it’s new to us but the boys are thriving just now in terms of training and getting to know Callum as a coach.

“We want to continue what has been a decent start. One of Callum’s strengths as a coach is how he breaks the game down for the players. Playing a back three isn’t new to us as Tommy introduced that last year.

“But certainly, if it’s going to be a two in the middle of the park, it is a shift but one thing we’ve always done at St Johnstone is work hard.

“The attitude has always been there to do that. With the three boys up front, it always gives us that option to go there quicker.”

‘Enthusiasm and knowledge’

Craig, who played in the same side as Davidson, has watched him transition from assistant manager to then taking the reins on his own.

“When he dig get the job [as manager] it’s difficult when he phones me now, you’ve got to answer him as ‘gaffer’.

“The attributes, enthusiasm and knowledge that Callum’s got, and what he’s learned over the past couple of years, I think it was the right choice by the club to put him in.

Liam Wright is getting used to calling Callum Davidson ‘gaffer’

“Tommy [Wright] left a really good group of younger players with loads of potential. Having Steven MacLean back at the club, along with Callum, they’re two really good people to help move these players on in their careers.

“In terms of my relationship with Callum, we still play golf together – but if I beat him he might leave me out on a Saturday!”

On making 400 appearances for the club, Craig said it was something he is “very proud of”. He would have liked to reach the landmark against Aberdeen, as it was Derek McInnes who signed him for St Johnstone.

Instead, he hit 400 in the defeat by Rangers at Ibrox.

“Only the second player to do it in St Johnstone’s history – behind Steven Anderson – and it’s a great achievement.”

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