St Johnstone skipper Jason Kerr on recent struggle with Covid-19 and why semi v Hibs is 'big chance' to reach final

A red card, a positive test for Covid-19 and now the chance to lead St Johnstone into a major final. Jason Kerr has certainly been in the thick of things recently.

St Johnstone skipper Jason Kerr hopes to lead his team into the Betfred Cup final with a win over Hibs this weekend (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Kerr, it has emerged, was one of the St Johnstone players struck down by Covid in recent weeks. It meant Saturday’s 1-0 win over St Mirren was his first appearance since…the last time St Johstone played the Paisley side, on the weekend before Christmas.

It was a timely return after a period of self-isolation – and suspension. Kerr was sent off just before half-time for an ill-judged challenge in that earlier game v St Mirren, which helped the opposition comeback from 2-1 down to win 3-2.

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He enjoyed better fortunes this time around as St Johnstone gained their first league win since the start of November. His season could continue on an upward curve as he looks to help his side secure a Betfred Cup final appearance against Hibs on Saturday. The 23-year-old certainly redeemed himself on this occasion against St Mirren. Kerr and his fellow defenders withstood a spirited attempt to salvage at least a draw by ten-man St Mirren.

Kerr regards this weekend’s last four tie against Hibs as eminently winnable. Jack Ross’ side were victorious in the first clash between this teams this season but only by a single, late goal from the penalty spot. The later meeting saw St Johnstone come back from 2-0 down to earn a draw at Easter Road.

“It’s a big chance,” said Kerr. “It’s a winnable game. We all know that. We know we’re good enough to go and beat Hibs. I feel like we deserved to beat them in the last two games we’ve played.

“It will be my first semi-final and I’m buzzing for it. I can’t wait. Hopefully it will lead to my first final. I feel that we’ve got a squad here that is good enough to go and win this trophy.”

Kerr was a youth player when St Johnstone won their first and so far only major trophy in the Scottish Cup final against Dundee United five years ago. “I know how much it meant to the likes of Macca (coach Steven MacLean) and Stevie May who are still at the club, and how much it meant to the fans. It will be good to have Macca and Stevie’s experience in the build-up. They know what it takes to win a semi – and a final.”

Kerr was happy to talk about his recent struggle with Covid-19. “I had a few of the symptoms,” he said. “I don’t actually know where I got it so it shows just how careful everybody needs to be – wash your hands and wear your mask. It’s proof that it can get anyone.

“The more positive results that come back the greater the chance of football shutting down again. We really don’t want that to happen.

“I lost my smell and my taste. It was a bit different to a cold, but the worst bit was having to sit in my house by myself for 10 days doing nothing. I’ve been watching every game and cheering on the boys. It’s torture when you’re in the house watching it on your own.”

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