I had to take the step backwards to go forwards, but I still want to show Saints I can play at the top level Quick return to Perth offering former McDiarmid Park kidThomson the chance to prove a point with East Fife
Craig Thomson is on a mission to prove that he has the ability to impress against Premiership players.
The former St Johnstone winger, now with hometown team East Fife, returns to McDiarmid Park on Saturday for Betfred Cup action.
Thomson came through the youth ranks at Saints and worked his way into the first team squad before leaving the club in January.
Known for his lightning pace, the 23-year-old went in search of regular football and now hopes he can climb back up the ladder.
Saturday’s Betfred Cup opener is set to be a special one for Thomson, who looks likely to get the starting nod from boss Darren Young.
“I’d like to prove that I’m good enough to play against players of that level because I felt like I was when I was at Saints,” he said.
“When I wasn’t getting a lot of game time at Saints, I felt I had to take a step back to go forward again.
“My aim is to try and play in the Premiership again.
“I’m at a club now where I know if I play as well as I can every week, then I should be in the team and getting 90 minutes.
“That is something I’ve not actually had my whole career so far. of mates at Saints, one being Chris Kane. The banter hadn’t started yet earlier in the week but Thomson explained: “Saints were away in Austria so I’ve not had much of a chance to speak to any of them.
“I’ll give a few of them a message on Friday and see what they are thinking.
“There’s a few of them that I got on really well with and still keep in touch with.
“I still talk to them quite a lot because I’ve made good friends coming through the youths at Saints.
“It probably makes it a bit more exciting that the game is at McDiarmid Park. But it’s also a much bigger pitch and could make it harder for us.
“I do like bigger pitches but as a team it might not work in our favour.”
While Thomson is back to full fitness now, his start with East Fife was a turbulent one after picking up an injury.
“It was January when I moved and it was quite hard at first because I broke my wrist in my first league game,” he said.
“I missed seven weeks and maybe got the last five games of the season. It wasn’t a great start.
“I was happy to sign again in the summer, so I’m settled and can get a better crack at it this time which is, hopefully, injury free.
“We’ve had four games over the past couple of weeks getting ready for the cup and also the league starting right after that.
“It was important that I stayed injury free and made sure that I was always working hard and in the best shape I could be.
“I think the manager is looking to bring a couple more in but so far it’s looking strong. He’s brought in a few boys who have improved the squad.
“It will be interesting to see when we start the league games especially. It’ll be important for us to get a good start.”
Performances this season with East Fife could well provide a platform for the pacey wide man to catapult back up the leagues.
It’s certainly a club with plenty of home comforts.
“I stay about two minutes from the stadium,” laughed Thomson. “It’s a club, growing up, that I could see the stadium from the window.
“On a Saturday I would hear the fans cheering if they scored. It’s my local team and good to be signed there.”
Saturday’s Betfred Cup group game between St Johnstone and East Fife kicks-off at 3pm at McDiarmid Park.