Zach Hemming's message to St Mirren fans as he savours Euro memories ahead of Middlesbrough return

Zach Hemming during his time with St Mirren
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

Zach Hemming is this season's Paisley Daily Express St Mirren young player of the year.

The popular keeper had a brilliant season between the sticks for the Buddies after moving up the road on loan from Middlesbrough.

To be eligible for the PDE young player of the year accolade, squad members must be aged 23 or under at the beginning of the season.

Safe hands Hemming played every game and kept 15 clean sheets as Saints finished fifth in the Premiership and qualified for Europe for the first time in almost four decades.

It looks like SMiSA Stadium punters have seen the last of the 24-year-old who will be given the chance to be part of Boro’s first-team operation in next season’s Sky Bet Championship.

But the big custodian, who has spent three years in Scotland – having had two seasons at Kilmarnock – leaves Paisley with nothing but happy memories.

“It’s been a good season and I’ve played every game,” Hemming told the Paisley Daily Express. "I’ve had a lot of fun with the team and it’s been great in terms of achievement.

“I didn’t really know what to think when I first came up. Obviously I knew Saints got top six last season but I just wanted to play football again as the previous year I didn’t play many games.

“The family settled in right away. We got a flat then moved to a house in Houston. The kids have loved it, this is the most settled we’ve ever been, and it’s been the most enjoyable year of football I’ve had.

“If the missus [Caitlin] and the kids are happy off the pitch then it’s easy for me to perform on the pitch. It makes things a lot easier when everyone is happy at home.”

Hemming is grateful for the support he received and added: “I always like to engage with the fans and the missus speaks to them quite a lot. The fans travel in their numbers and I’d just like to say thanks very much for everything.”

Meanwhile, Hemming has credited goalkeeping coach Jamie Langfield with getting the best out of him during his time at Saints and believes they clicked as a duo because of a similar philosophy in terms of how to approach the game.

He said: “I think a lot of my game is about enjoyment and so, if I enjoy my football, I will perform.

“Jamie’s someone I’ve enjoyed training with every day. He makes it fun and we’ve had a laugh. We don’t take it too seriously but we get our work done as well. He knew what I liked and that I am like him when he played.

“I just feel confident in my own ability. The gaffer [Stephen Robinson] also told me to play my game and that’s what I’ve tried to do.

“I’ve tried to help the team as much as possible as they are a great bunch of lads. I think I’ve come on massively this season just by enjoying my football and getting loads of game time.”

Boro have kept tabs on Hemming’s progress and appear pleased with what they’ve seen as he makes a return to Teesside.

“The feedback has been positive,” Hemming added. “They’ve been to see me in a few games.”

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