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Craig happy to select youth

Tommy Craig has revealed he expects to deploy more graduates from the St Mirren academy in the first team this season.

Craig, who succeeded Danny Lennon as manager last month, will have his pick of 10 players to have come through the ranks after adding Mark Williams, Declan Hughes, Adam Brown and Mo Yaqub to last season's group. Craig made his debut for Aberdeen as a 17 year-old under the tutelage of manager Eddie Turnbull and revealed he would have no hesitation about similarly pitching a teenager into SPFL Premiership action next season should they show the requisite talent and desire.

"The ultimate aim is to get as many academy players as possible into the first team," Craig told Herald Sport.

"Youth development is crucial at a club like St Mirren. The youth academy is terrific here and it has been set up really, really well. We're lucky to have someone like David Longwell [head of youth] who works 24/7 and you need that to make it a great success.

"We're going to survive and thrive as a club through the time spent nurturing, coaching and educating these kids. It's a crime if a kid gets to a certain age and goes out of football because he's not had a chance. If a kid falls short here it won't be for a lack of trying on the part of both parties.

"I would expect to use a few more [youth players] this season. I'm willing to give them that opportunity. There's no reason why a 17 year-old couldn't play in the first team now but they've got to want it."

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