Chris Millar is continuing to prove he’ll be around for a while yet, as he looks back on a stellar football career.
Playing for two clubs throughout his playing days, the midfielder is a committed professional. Achieving great success in his career, Millar has earned the title as a club hero for both St Johnstone and Morton.
In part one, I spoke to Millar about his days at Morton. This time around the midfielder speaks about his days as a Saint.
The Tommy Wright effect
When Derek McInnes left St Johnstone to take up the vacant Bristol City job, it left the manager’s hot seat empty at McDiarmid park. Steve Lomas was brought in to lead the club, with his trusty assistant, Tommy Wright.
Wright is now the boss in Perth, and Millar describes what the manager was like during his early days.
“When Tommy first came in, he was very quiet. First couple of weeks was all about sussing him out.
“As time went on you began to know his character more. He was really good to talk, there was a point when I thought about leaving St Johnstone, and he sat me down for an hour. Wright told me the grass isn’t always greener.
“He said there was a contract here for you, you’ll play games. I took his advice and signed on. Lomas left and Wright took over. The rest is history as they say.”
Midfield partners in crime
Throughout his time in Perth, Millar had many companions in the centre of the pitch. He couldn’t pinpoint a specific player he enjoyed playing with, but Millar paid homage to the stars he has turned out with at McDiarmid Park.
“I really enjoyed playing with Murray Davidson, I think we had a great balance in the middle of the park. Jody Morris was a big influence when I first signed for St Johnstone as well.
“The type of player I am though means I just enjoy playing football. It’s the best job in the world and I’m just privileged to have played with these guys.
“As you get older, you try and cherish every day, and try to live in the moment, as there is more days behind you than in front of you.”
Steve MacLean’s rally cry
No doubt a highlight in Millar’s career, he was part of the historic Saints side that brought the Scottish Cup to Perth for the first time in 2014. The club had never won major silverware before, but Millar and his teammates were able to deliver the unthinkable.
Millar insists that previous Hampden experience helped his side out, along with a Steve MacLean dressing down: “We’d been to semi-finals since I was at the club. We lost to Motherwell, Hibs and Rangers in semi-finals, so we knew we were there or thereabouts.
“The biggest hurdle was the semi-final against Aberdeen. They had beaten us 4-0 in the League Cup beforehand, and we were hurting, we wanted to put things right.”
“We were 1-0 down at half-time, and MacLean was having a right go at us. He was saying don’t blow it, don’t let this pass us by again. That was a massive win for us at Ibrox against Aberdeen.”
In the wake of St Johnstone’s cup victory over Dundee United, fans lined the streets of Perth to see their heroes. Millar took a trip down memory lane, remembering the scenes, from one of the Saints’ greatest weekends.
“I think we had got quite lucky. United had hit the post a few times, but we deserved to win. It was the first major piece of silverware the club had won, so that team will go down as legends.
“It’s great for you and your family, but it meant so much to the town. When the people of Perth turned out for the open-bus tour, it looked like the whole town was in the city centre! It was great to share that day with the people of Perth.”
Millar departed Perth for Morton this summer, with a testimonial awarded to him for his great service to the Saints. The midfielder is, without a doubt, a modern day St Johnstone legend.