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After Barnsley interest, St Johnstone’s Jason Kerr insists he’s focused on learning his craft in Perth

Jason Kerr (SNS Group)
Jason Kerr (SNS Group)

JASON KERR learned he was the target of a January swoop by Barnsley on Twitter.

But the St Johnstone star insists the only thing he wanted to click “Like” on last month was a new deal at McDiarmid Park.

Kerr’s performances at centre-half since breaking into Tommy Wright’s side have earned rave reviews – and seen him watched by clubs from across the English divisions.

League One promotion hopefuls Barnsley tried their luck with a lowball £100,000 bid during the transfer window, but were swiftly rebuffed by Saints.

Kerr then put pen to paper on a new deal through to 2022 in Perth – and the highly-rated defender, who will today face Celtic for the third time in 11 days, insists a move to Oakwell was never on his radar.

“I’m delighted to get the new contract sorted,” he said.

“It had been going on for a few months so it’s good to get it out of the way and now I can focus on my football.

“I didn’t really know much about the interest from Barnsley.

“The first I found out about it was when some of their fans started following me on Twitter and then started talking about me on it.

“Their fans seemed to know about it before I did.

“I wasn’t interested though. I was always going to be staying here because I see my future with St Johnstone.

“When the club offered me a new deal I just wanted it signed and wasn’t interested in going anywhere else.

“It wasn’t a temptation – I am focused here and didn’t want to talk to another club.”

Kerr has missed only one of St Johnstone’s 32 games in all competitions this term.

His near-ever-present record is testament to how he has answered the expectations of Premiership football after three campaigns on-loan in the lower leagues. They have even led to calls for a Scotland call-up.

Now he is determined to repay Saints – and manager Tommy Wright – for managing his ascent by helping them to a top six place.

“The gaffer knew I wanted to stay because this is the best place for my development,” said the level-headed star.

“I am getting game time here, I’m only 22 and I have played nearly 50 games in the Premiership for St Johnstone.

“By the end of the season I will hopefully be over 150 overall.

“That is good for someone of my age and I’ve been developing steadily.

“It’s good to be getting praise from people like the gaffer, it gives you a boost but you can’t get carried away with it.

“I have played a full season every season since I was 17 so the club have handled my career well.

“The loans to East Fife and Queen of the South have been great for me.

“As a centre-half it’s quite a delicate position. You need the experience so you know where to be and are able to think about the game properly.

“Playing against men from a young age has helped me do that and what I’ve learned has stood me in good stead now.”

Kerr will have to draw on every minute of his development today against Celtic.

But unsurprisingly, it’s not a prospect he fears.

“You want to play against the best and I have enjoyed coming up against the strikers at this level,” he said.

“I prefer playing against Odsonne Edouard, Alfredo Morelos, Oliver Burke and all these guys because it’s a challenge and you want to test yourself.

“When you play against these top guys you have to be on your game and stay focused because they punish you if you switch off.

“Against Celtic, you will always face good players so it’s going to be difficult, but we’ll give it a shot.”