St Johnstone midfielder Liam Craig was delighted with the spirit and character shown by his team-mates in a battling 3-2 victory over Ross County on Saturday.
Saints let a two-goal lead slip before netting a late winner to make it seven away victories in a row in all competitions – a new club record.
Craig played an integral part in the victory by continually prompting those around him throughout the match.
But he also admitted he was glad his skipper Dave Mackay did not listen to his advice before hitting the winner, direct from a free-kick, a couple of minutes from the end.
Craig said: “I was telling him I was wanting to hit it – but it was a great free-kick worthy of winning any game. I was delighted he never listened to me.”
The midfielder, in his second spell with the Perth club, was impressed by the nature of the victory. He said: “It was great to go in 2-0 at half-time and we were disappointed in the way we lost the two goals in the second half. But again this team showed great character and spirit to go on and win the game.”
On David Wotherspoon’s goals which put Saints 2-0 up, he added: “It was great persistence from David for the first goal, chasing the goalie down. As ugly as that was, his second goal was right out of the top drawer.
“I thought the first half wasn’t too pretty from either team but we took our chances. We were 2-0 up without playing great. I thought we did the dirty side of the game well and managed the conditions better. Take nothing away, coming up here on a day like today and getting three points – it was a magnificent effort from the boys and a great result.”
He added: “The boys, the spirit and the character is second to none. We never know when we are beat as we’ve shown in games.”
Craig also had a special mention for the Saints supporters who travelled north for the game. He said: “Fair play to our supporters coming up today in horrendous conditions. They were noisy and stuck with us even when it went to 2-2. It was great for them as well to go back to Perth with three points.”
Despite having played a significant part in creating a proud piece of club history, Wotherspoon greeted the feat with casual restraint.
“I don’t know what it is, but we keep producing and keep scoring,” he said. “It’s great, compared to last season when we were tight at the back and not scoring many up top. It’s a complete change-around. We keep scoring goals but conceding – silly ones as well.
“I felt we caused our own problems, especially first half but second half as well. There were goals we could have prevented – we just weren’t switched on. But our away form has been great and that’s seven in a row we’ve won – that’s fantastic. The boys are just delighted.”
However, Wotherspoon quickly doused talk of Saints pushing past Hearts and Aberdeen to claim second place, which would be the club’s highest-ever finish.
“People keep talking about it, but I think the boys know you just take one game at a time,” he stressed.
“It’s great at the moment. We’re in great spirits and great confidence and winning games, which is what we want to be doing.
“We want to be looking up, rather than looking behind us. But we knew that before the game – if we won this game we’d create that gap on them.
“It’s great and it’s just credit to the boys. It has been a great run we’ve been on.”
County defender Scott Boyd admitted after match: “We are all absolutely gutted. I thought there was only going to be one winner at 2-2 but unfortunately they hit us with a sucker punch right at the end, but that’s football.
“We showed great character in the second half and got ourselves into a good position. We had the momentum on the pitch and we were growing in confidence every minute. I think we all thought we were going on to get the winner. It was a right hard one to take, especially after how well we’d done.”
Boyd turned his thoughts to County’s next game against Hamilton next Saturday.
He said: “We just have to focus on that game now – this one is done, we didn’t get the points we were looking for. But next Saturday is another chance to get three points and get us up the table.”