Caolan Boyd-Munce is a bright spark on the pitch for St Mirren.

And it seems the 24-year-old is just as bright off the pitch, with a master's in the offing for the Buddies midfielder having completed a law degree last year.

The Northern Ireland international extended his contract at the SMiSA Stadium just last week, with Stephen Robinson holding onto the impressive all-round midfielder until the summer of 2025.

The boss took a punt on the player a little over a year ago in March 2023 after he was released by Middlesbrough. Such as his brilliant form across his 30 first-team appearances for the Premiership’s current fifth-place side, Boyd-Munce was fully deserving of his contract extension.

He insists it’s as important for him to be focussed off the field as it is to be while he plays and trains. Having grown up ‘suffocated’ by football in his younger days at Birmingham City, he feels it’s essentially to future-proof himself.

“Not for me personally, no,” he said when asked if the prospect of Europe kept him in Paisley. “I’ve had a tough run of it. I’ve been at big clubs and I’ve worked my socks off and sacrificed a lot to not play football, so I was never going to be comfortable at being at a big club and not playing.

“Coming here, they’ve given me the platform and I’ve enjoyed it. So, it was never in my mind ‘If we don’t get Europe then I’m not staying.’ I was happy here, I’m playing football and I’m settled, so in my mind, it was never about that.

“Going forward, I think we’ll attract bigger players. It’s more of a squad in Europe, so I think to an extent yet.

“I graduated in September there. I really enjoyed it. I’ll see what I do next, I’m not sure what yet, though. I’m going to do a masters in some sort of field. I don’t know if it’ll be in law again, or business or something sporty.

“I think it’s helped me. Some people would think ‘It’s a grind,’ whereas I like to be focussed on something else. Moving away when I was young, I was just suffocated by football because everything is ‘Football, football, football.’ Even when I came home as a youngster I’d stick on FIFA and then everything still, is football.

“Having something like that is a pressure for me in a different way, which I think has helped me.”

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Boyd-Munce was one of a few standouts for St Mirren as they gave it a proper go, in the first half certainly, against Celtic on Saturday. Reo Hatate’s goal shortly after the break put paid to their efforts, but the midfielder insists the way he and his teammates were able to express themselves on an open pitch was a joy.

With top six football achieved for a second successive season, the aim is to now finish in a spot that will see the club play in European qualifiers this summer.

Fifth place, ultimately, might be enough to see them over the line so long as Aberdeen don’t like the Scottish Cup on May 25. But typical of the character the St Mirren side possesses, Boyd-Munce insists the club’s sights are firmly fixed on Kilmarnock, who boast an eight-point advantage over their rivals.

“I enjoyed the first half,” he said. “We went in at half time and we felt really relaxed. We were comfortable and calm. We were passing it a bit, we were getting on the ball.

“Then we had some changes with Elvis [Bwomono] and Tans [Scott Tanser] coming off. Jaden [Brown] came on at half time and he really grew into the game. He’s still used to the game up here.

“We knew Celtic were going to come flying out of the blocks, so it was tough to take. The second one was a sucker punch for us.

“It’s some pitch – it’s nice to pass the ball on – especially with the way some of the pitches have been up here.

“It was enjoyable, and I feel like we’ve earned that right to enjoy games here. We’ve had a really good season, finishing in the top six and we’re enjoying playing football now rather than just being in games or being territorial.

“Our aim is to catch fourth, that’s got to be our aim. You can’t look behind, we have to look at what’s in front.

“In these last three weeks we’ve been thinking ‘Can we achieve fourth,’ and all of us believe we can. We don’t see why not. The Kilmarnock game was a bit of a sucker punch. We were doing so well in the first half, similar to today, but I don’t see why we can’t.

“Pressure comes from all football. We’re going to have pressure on ourselves. Pressure doesn’t necessarily come from the outside, I think most of it comes from the inside and what we expect.

“If we were thinking ‘Oh we’re happy to settle for sixth,’ then we’d just coast through it. Like today, we’d have just coated through the first half, but that’s not the way we’re thinking.

“We’re thinking what can we get out of it for the club. It’s such a small, close-knit, community-based club, so what can we do for ourselves rather than everyone else.”