St Johnstone's Steven Anderson eyes 'next chapter' after 16 years

By Jane LewisBBC Scotland
Steven Anderson
Steven Anderson scored in St Johnstone's Scottish Cup win in 2014

Captain Steven Anderson is leaving St Johnstone after 16 years, while Liam Craig, Callum Booth and Chris Kane have extended their deals until January.

Anderson is among seven players - including first-team squad members Danny Swanson, Ross Callachan and David McMillan - released by the Perth side.

The 34-year-old scored in the Scottish Cup final victory in 2014.

"I've been prepared for it and looking ahead to the next chapter. I've got another couple of years left," he said.

"It's not a massive surprise, it's been a big chapter in my life and St Johnstone have been special for my football career," Anderson told BBC Scotland.

"It's one of those things, you end up with a club… 16 years is a long, long time at one club. But I hope that I've repaid that faith in me by the club and the supporters.

"It's sad to go but I need to look at the fond memories that I've had, and they'll keep me sane in the next couple of months."

Anderson hopes that loan spells at Partick Thistle and Raith Rovers will also show interested clubs that he still has a lot to offer before considering retirement.

"Hopefully, clubs will be interested with what I've done. Every club is facing the same scenario here: you need to know when football is going to restart before they can actually offer players contracts.

"Personally, I think I've got another couple of years left."

Saints chairman Steve Brown said it was "very rare" for a player to remain at a club for so long.

"I think that says a lot about Ando as a person and a player that he's shown that loyalty. He is the St Johnstone record appearance holder and has been part of three trophy-winning sides

"Nobody will ever forget his header at the back post in the Scottish Cup final as we went on to lift the trophy in 2014.."

Out-of-contract youngsters Max Johnstone, Euan O'Reilly and Shaun Struthers are also leaving.

Midfielder Craig - second on the club's all-time appearance list - left-back Booth and youth academy graduate Kane have extended their stay until the new year.

The club remain in talks with "a number of other players" about new deals and have secured youngsters Jordan Northcott, Cammy Ballantyne, John Robertson and Oliver Hamilton on contract extensions.

St Johnstone are also searching for Tommy Wright's successor as manager, the 56-year-old having stepped down on 2 May after seven years in charge.

And Anderson has a name in mind for who should take up the managerial reins.

"Callum Davidson for me - he knows the club, the players that have been there and is a good fit," he said.

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