LISTEN: Houston has no qualms over playing Alston

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Peter Houston insists Blair Alston’s exemplary attitude means he’ll remain a fixture in the first team as long as he’s at the club – and the door will never close on him staying longer.

The midfielder recently marked 200 games as a Bairn but he’s likely to move on at the end of his current contract this summer.

Blair Alston's options are open

Blair Alston's options are open

Aberdeen and St Johnstone have both been liked with a move for Alston who is hitting form at the moment.

BAnd Peter Houston says only a dip in form, not in attitude or effort, is likely to see Alston fall out of the first team picture, because he has handled his expiring deal well with the club and his boss.

Houston said: “I’ve had experience with this before. We had it last year with Rory Loy. I had it with the cup-winning team at Dundee United.

“You’ve got to be mature about it. I have no problem with players wanting to better themselves.

“Blair has handled the situation well and he’s been honest – I value that. His attitude and effort has been excellent and that’s kept him in the team.

“He might have a dip in form, but it won’t be through lack of effort, that’s for sure.

“I had no problems playing Rory Loy and I have no problems playing Blair Alston.”

The Bairns boss also revealed he was open to Alston staying with the club, if that’s what he decided to do.

“The door will never be shut. Blair has indicated he is looking at a new challenge but if it came to the end of the season and he decided he had changed his mind we would sit down with him.”