St Johnstone's Matty Kennedy sees future as striker after Steven Gerrard praise

St Johnstone's Matty Kennedy celebrates scoring
Matty Kennedy has scored five goals in nine games since moving up front

Matty Kennedy believes he can become a permanent target man after earning praise from Rangers boss Steven Gerrard despite St Johnstone's 2-1 defeat.

The former Everton and Kilmarnock 24-year-old had always played on the wing until being thrust up front by Saints manager Tommy Wright in October.

His fifth goal in nine games came against Rangers at McDiarmid Park.

"If Steven Gerrard thinks I can play up top then who am I to argue?" Kennedy said.

"If the gaffer wants to play me left-back, I don't mind. I just want to be in the team, but the way I've been playing up front recently, I think this is now where I want to play."

Kennedy was described as a "constant thorn in our side" by Gerrard, which the St Johnstone player described as a "confidence booster".

"I grew up watching him play, he's a huge figure in football, so if he is giving you compliments you have to take it," he said. "There's not many better to hear singing your praises."

Kennedy had previously been paired with former Celtic, Standard Liege and Charlton Athletic striker Tony Watt, but the Scotland cap was dropped to the bench as Wright adapted his formation on Sunday.

"I was up on my own against Rangers and that was also new, I'd never played as a loan striker," he said. "The gaffer just said to me, 'Go up there, we'll try to get you the ball and see what you can do'.

"I felt I did well and I'll only learn the more I play there. With every game I've played there, I think I've got better and better."

Kennedy was left deflated after Alfredo Morelos sank Saints with two second-half goals but hopes his side can return to winning ways against St Mirren on Boxing Day.

"If we play like we did on Sunday against the majority of teams in this league then we'll win matches," he added.

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