St Johnstone have announced a raft of player departures after the team successfully kept their Premiership status – and confirmed that club legend Liam Craig has joined the coaching staff after retiring as a player.
Callum Davidson’s side beat Inverness 6-2 on aggregate in the Premiership play-off to avoid relegation after a difficult season, with the Perth side struggling to cope with player departures and injuries.
Davidson and his staff will now begin a revamp of the squad ahead of new challenges, with a number of players departing at the end of their contracts.
Cardiff’s Tom Sang and Rangers attacker Glenn Middleton have both returned to their parent clubs after loan spells, while seven member of the first team squad are leaving after not having their contracts renewed.
Veteran midfielder Craig Bryson and striker Nadir Ciftci are the most high-profile departures, with Jacob Butterfield, Efe Ambrose, Jahmal Hector-Ingram, Samuel Denham and Jordan Northcott all leaving.
The statement follows news earlier this week that Shaun Rooney had left McDairmid Park to become Scott Brown’s first signing at Fleetwood Town.
Liam Craig joins the backroom staff after a career that saw him break the record for games played at St Johnstone, as well as being part of the squad in each of their three major cup wins.
Midfielder Murray Davidson has extended his stay with the club, signing a new one-year deal.
He told the club’s official website: “I’m delighted to be staying at the football club. This will be my 14th season and Saints is a big part of my life.
“We all know the challenges we had last season but we came good in the end to secure our survival.”It was stressful, at times, but we remained calm and focused. We also had fantastic backing from our supporters. They were different class.
“We want to do better next season and avoid being in and around the bottom of the Premiership. That will be our aim.
“I know that my experience will be important on the training park and in the dressing room.
“We will also be leaning on David Wotherspoon and Chris Kane to help push us all on. We’ll be there every day to support the captain, Liam Gordon.
“So, we will all have a wee break and come back refreshed and ready to go.
“I’m looking forward to the different challenges next season will bring and we will all do everything we can to make it as successful a season as possible.”