St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin admits handing versatile defender Richard Tait a new contract was a straightforward decision - despite his lack of game time this season.
The former Motherwell man was given just his ninth start of the campaign during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Hibernian at Easter Road.
However, the Buddies boss stated Tait has been the ultimate professional during his time in Paisley and was delighted the 32-year-old agreed to extend his stay with the club.
He said: “He’s a top, top pro and that’s why I offered him a new contract. He hasn’t been playing as often as he’d have liked but the fact he still agreed to sign an extension suggests that he’s enjoying life here.
“He’s got a great relationship with myself and the staff. More importantly, he’s also got a great one with his team-mates. He’s a great role model to all of the younger lads in that dressing room.
“He’s a fitness fanatic and I can’t have enough top pros in the squad to be the leaders that the young lads can look up to.
“I’m not surprised (by the impact he’s made). I spoke to Stephen Robinson about him before I made Richard the offer.
“Motherwell were still trying to keep him but we had a great conversation and we’re very similar on our outlook on life, out attitude towards doing things properly.
“Professionalism is a big part of both of our way of doing things. Richard was very good for Motherwell but felt he wasn’t going to play as key a role as he’d have liked under Stephen.
“We told him he’d play regularly for us if he came here and he did the last couple of seasons. This year it’s been a little bit more stop-start, but last year he was a big player for us.
“The fact he can play a number of positions, he’s naturally right-footed but plays left-back very comfortably, and played centre-back for me at one point proves he’s just a top pro.
“If you look after yourself you can prolong your career and that’s what Tait will do.”
Goodwin confirmed he has yet to take part in one of Tait’s demanding CrossFit sessions but admitted the defender’s coaching methods could prove an additional selling point in their pursuit of ex-Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths.
The former Scotland star is a free agent after his Parkhead contract was ripped up last month and Goodwin revealed he would be keen to offer Griffiths a Premiership lifeline.
He said: “I’m not on social media but a few of my friends have shown me a couple of his Instagram posts.
“This guy is a beast. He does too much at times for me. We’re trying to rein him in.
“Maybe if we get Leigh (Griffiths) over the line I can probably pair him up with Tait. He can become his personal trainer. That might be an offer I make to him by the way.”