STEVIE MAY will put hometown club St Johnstone’s bid to land an historic first major trophy before any January offers to ply his trade elsewhere, as his reputation as one of Scottish football’s hottest properties continues to grow.
The 21-year-old striker yesterday collected the SPFL Player of the Month award for October, another personal milestone in a campaign where he has been the star turn for Saints.
The Perth club resisted offers for May from Peterborough United before the summer transfer window closed and, while he agreed a contract extension up to 2015, it seems inevitable he will attract fresh interest when trading resumes in January.
But May, poised to win his fifth Scotland under-21 cap tonight against Georgia at St Mirren Park, will not be agitating for a move. With St Johnstone counting down to a February semi-final date against Aberdeen in a wide-open League Cup competition, he is focused on being part of a team which earns Saints major silverware for the first time in their 129-year existence.
“You want to win trophies and St Johnstone never have, so this is as good a chance as we’ll ever get,” said May. “The other teams will be saying the same thing, this chance won’t come around every year with Celtic and Rangers both knocked out.
“I’ve never really thought of moving on, I just want to play my game and improve as a player, which I’m doing at this moment. So there is no reason for me wanting to go elsewhere.
“There was no decision for me to make with the Peterborough thing. If there had been, I would have chosen to stay anyway and that’s proved to be beneficial.
“There was no point in me going somewhere where I might not be playing every week. I’m at a stage of my career where I am developing as a person and a player as well. I’m enjoying my football and I know the club, I’ve been there nearly ten years now, so I love where I am and where the club is going. The football we’re playing, I get a lot of chances and it’s the kind of football you love to be a part of.”
With loan spells at Alloa Athletic (19 goals in 22 games) and Hamilton Accies (25 goals in 33 games) over the previous two seasons having developed his goalscoring craft, May has already netted 11 goals for St Johnstone in the current campaign.
“It’s gone as well as I could have imagined,” he added. “My target for the season started off as getting double figures and I’ve managed that already. The manager said I could get 20, which showed he believes in me and, hopefully, I can make that.
“I believe I can score in every game. It’s been like that for the past few years now. I go out wanting to do as well as I can and, if I don’t score, I’m a bit disappointed.”
May scored on his first starting appearance for the Scotland under-21s when they defeated Slovakia 2-1 in Paisley last month. But a 2-1 defeat in Georgia in their next game has left Billy Stark’s side in need of all three points against the Georgians tonight to revive their hopes of reaching the 2015 European Championship finals in Czech Republic.
Although May is already being tipped for a senior Scotland call-up, he insists the under-21s are his priority.
“It’s always nice to be talked about in that sense but it’s a bit like the transfer speculation, I don’t think about it too much,” he said.
“There are always players in the under-21 team that you think have got a bit and are special players. We’re a team that have got them and you think they can make the step up to the senior squad. But it might take a couple of years.
“At this moment I’m focusing on the under-21 game and trying to qualify for the tournament, which all the boys are doing. We’ve got a home game against Georgia, which is going to be hard but we’re in good spirits and we fancy our chances.
“We know how hard it’ll be because we were outplayed over there, but we’re looking forward to it. I don’t think we played as well as we could in Georgia.
“We’re now focusing on this game and we’re ready to go. We know what we need to do and how we’re going to beat them.”