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

Perthshire Advertiser - - MONDAY’S TV - Matthew Gal­lagher

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.

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