St Johnstone legend Liam Craig ‘delighted’ to answer Arbroath call

Liam Craig is “delighted” to be working with Arbroath after spending the weeks following his St Johnstone departure doing the dugout rounds.

The Saints legend was thrilled when Gayfield caretaker manager Stuart Malcolm picked up the phone last weekend in search of his coaching assistance.

Since departing McDiarmid Park with ex-manager Steven MacLean four weeks ago, Craig hasn’t been short of things to do.

But getting back to work has been a big boost to the 36-year-old.

Craig said: “I’ve met a lot of people over the last four weeks who are directly and indirectly involved in the game.

“That’s been pleasing for me. John Hughes has been on the phone giving me bits of advice, Derek McInnes is someone I’ve worked with in the past as well, and I’ve had numerous cups of coffee with Callum Davidson!

Liam Craig (right) with former St Johnstone boss Steven MacLean. Image: SNS.

“I was also in working at Dunfermline last week and appreciate James McPake and Dave Mackay for inviting me in, it makes you feel good.

“As much as I want to be back in the game, it’s been good to be in conversation with these guys.

“I hope however long I’m at Arbroath I can use that knowledge and reflection to be better for it and help the club.

“Hopefully Arbroath bear the fruits of that in the coming weeks, days and months.”

He added: “Stuart [Malcolm] gave me a phone after Dick [Campbell] resigned and I was delighted to come in and help out, it’s a club that I’ve got to know well, especially in the last few years.

“In my role at St Johnstone, we played Arbroath a few times in friendlies, my relationship and knowledge of the club is quite good and I’m excited to get back involved.

“This week has been full-on even though Arbroath are a part-time club. Myself, Stuart and Barry [Sellars] have always been on the phone trying to do what’s right to make us successful.”

Arbroath caretaker boss Stuart Malcolm. Image: SNS

Having four weeks out of work at this stage of the season was not what Craig expected back in the summer.

He has enjoyed spending time with family.

But the opportunity to return to the game was never one he was going to knock back.

He said: “I’ve never really had a break, even last season you’re looking at recruitment, the new season.

“The last four weeks has been good, spending more time with the kids, I’ve enjoyed taking them to school and being a dad, as football does consume you, especially in the top-flight.

“I went to Ipswich the week after I turned 16, I’ll be 37 in three weeks’ time and been involved in football for 21 years now – I would rather watch lower leagues of Scottish football than the Champions League.

“I love Scottish football so the opportunity to come back in and work with Stuart has been great.”

Arbroath need ‘more attacking threat’

Craig added: “I’ve known Stuart since we did our Uefa ‘B’ licence together, I was also helping Stuart with loaning out boys from St Johnstone to Berwick when he was in charge there.

“He’s someone that I’ve been close to over the years – when he phoned I wanted to help him but also help a club that have gave opportunities to a lot of people in the past.

After six straight losses, Arbroath were hoping to claim a Saturday victory at Ayr United that would have lifted them above the Honest Men in the Championship table.

However, with the match called off on Friday afternoon due to a frozen pitch, they will now have to bide their time.

“I know how difficult this league is,” said Craig.

“We’ve spoken as coaches about how we can build a solid defensive foundation and one thing we agreed on from Tuesday night’s loss at Dunfermline is we need more of an attacking threat.”

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