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Jody Morris


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Interview in The Times today (Thursday 24th September)

Blue will always remain the colour for Jody Morris but he no longer mopes about the past with Chelsea. It is the future with St Johnstone and walking out at Hampden Park on cup final day.

The man whose spectacular finish against Hibernian at Easter Road on Tuesday night put the Perth club into today’s quarter-final draw for the Co-operative Insurance Cup credits Derek McInnes for reviving his career with the sort of man-management that Dennis Wise lacked.

Morris and Wise were friends from their days at Stamford Bridge but the relationship suffered when Wise became Morris’s manager at Millwall. It was at the New Den that Morris and McInnes became friends and while the 30-year-old midfield player had doubts about playing for another close team-mate, they have evaporated in his 18 months at McDiarmid Park.

The rejuvenated former Chelsea player netted his third goal of the season to stir hopes in Perth that St Johnstone can reach the final of the League Cup competition just as they did a decade ago. In 2007, Owen Coyle saw his St Johnstone side beaten in the semi-finals of the CIS Cup and the Scottish Cup but his successor, McInnes, could go one better.

“Initially, Derek was a good friend of mine and someone I liked getting advice from,†Morris said. “I like the way he thinks about football, the way he conducts himself and trains hard.

“His being a manager was a bit of a grey area because I had that before with Dennis Wise. He was a pal, then became a manager and you never quite knew how it was going to be but Derek has been great and I get on really well with him and I enjoy working with him.â€

Morris’s contract expires at the end of the season and the Londoner who had eight years at Chelsea and was part of the 2000 FA Cup final team, before watching his career descend amid troubled headlines at Leeds United and Millwall, admits he would gladly stay longer in Perth. “I had to get away from England because of the reputation I had built up,†he said.

“I definitely live my life a lot better than ten years ago. I went out too much when I was younger, did not eat the right things, did not rest. However, I have a few good years left in me. I was out the game for 18 months and you realise what you are missing. The best years of my career were playing for Chelsea, the club I loved, but it passed me by. I did not appreciate it as much as I should have.â€

One of those old Stamford Bridge friends is Frank Lampard and the England player has become a secret St Johnstone supporter thanks to Morris, trying to catch McInnes’s team whenever they are on television.

“Any time I am on television, mates in London will watch me,†Morris said. “Frank is one of my best mates and they were happy when I started doing well with St Johnstone because they’d seen me when I did not have a club.â€

Shame he didn't learn how to act like a professional like Frank.

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