Name: Jack Baird
Date of Birth: 07/02/1996
Place of Birth: Glasgow
Position: Centre Back
Signed: November 2014 from Club Academy
Departed: 01/09/2020 to Ayr United
Debut: 06/12/2014 v St Johnstone (0-1)
Final Match: 23/07/2019 v Albion Rovers (0-0)
Honours: 2017/18 First Division
A product of Saints extremely fruitful 2010’s youth academy, centre back Jack Baird was a commanding and popular defender at Saints throughout his six years as a first team player where he would occasionally stand in as captain and significantly win the 2017/18 First Division.
The Glasgow born defender was an “old fashioned” in style centre back where his main strengths were undoubtedly tackling and heading, and he quickly slotted into Saints first team during the 2014/15 campaign as the players spent most of the time defending as it must be conceded. Baird was given his debut by Tommy Craig; in fact the 18-year-old defender would start in the last match managed by the veteran coach which was on the 6th December 2014 at home to St Johnstone in front of only 2,720 spectators that ended unsurprisingly (as results were going at that point) in a 1-0 defeat.
Baird would make a further seven appearances that season as the club dropped out of the top flight, but would become a regular for the next four years, in fact he would play in 83% of all available league matches, no mean feat in normal circumstances considering suspension and injuries, but the fact that Saints changed permanent manager six times between Baird making his debut in late 2014 and the end of the 2018/19 season and all of these men had the defender as a regular is testament to the young centre back.
After playing in all but five of Saints league matches during the successful 2017/18 Championship winning campaign, Baird was again a regular under Alan Stubbs very briefly and then Oran Kearney as the team sensationally avoided relegation from the Premiership with Baird starting 33 of the scheduled 38 games and starting both play off matches against Dundee Utd.
It was therefore surprising that Jim Goodwin did not see Baird as part of his long-term plans when he took over in the summer of 2019 and after appearing in all four league cup matches for Saints at the start of the season, Baird would never play for Saints again after captaining the side at Cliftonhill in July 2019 during a dead rubber penalty kick win over Albion Rovers following 120 minutes of pretty uninspiring football in Lanarkshire.
Even more surprising was Baird’s next career move as he joined Morton on loan for the rest of the campaign, impressing enough at the Championship club to warrant quite a scramble for his services in the summer of 2020 when Goodwin told him he as free to find another club, and the big defender turned down a permanent move to the Greenock side after opting to sign for Ayr United where he has remained at since.
Baird remains popular with Saints support and in the Scottish Cup win at Somerset Park in early 2022 the unmistakeable sound of his song to the sound of “Voulez-Vous” by Abba could be heard from the considerable travelling support that afternoon. It was a deserved tribute to a player who had given his all for the club during an incredible period on the park where Saints had incredibly avoided two relegations in different divisions with a promotion season sandwiched in-between, and Jack Baird was at the centre of it all.