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Callum Davidson keen for St Johnstone to get elusive first victory

St Johnstone v Galatasaray – UEFA Europa League – Third Qualifying Round – Second Leg – McDiarmid Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

St Johnstone are getting plaudits again this season but it is a victory that manager Callum Davidson craves.

Scotland’s double cup winners pulled off another notable European result on Thursday night when they drew 1-1 against LASK in Austria, mirroring their recent away result against Galatasaray.

The draw sets Saints up for a huge chance to reach the Europa Conference League group stage and the list of LASK’s recent opponents shows how impressive the performance was.

The Austrians beat Vojvodina 6-1 at home in the previous round and have beaten the likes of Basel, Antwerp, Sporting, PSV Eindhoven, Rosenborg and AZ Alkmaar in recent seasons.

However, Saints had several good chances to double the lead handed to them by Chris Kane and were only pegged back when Jamie McCart conceded a penalty for a needless challenge.

They lost a goal two minutes after going ahead in Istanbul following a defensive misjudgement and are still looking for their first regular win of the season.

In the league, they missed a penalty in a goalless draw with Ross County and were denied three points against Motherwell by Tony Watt’s late equaliser. They did progress in the Premier Sports Cup last weekend but needed penalties to get past Arbroath.

Davidson is keen to get that elusive victory in 90 minutes when they host Dundee United on Sunday.

“It’s something I am probably a little bit disappointed with,” he said. “On Thursday, and in the Motherwell game, we have had leads. We have had chances to go in front. It’s something we need to get better at.

“I am always looking to try and improve and the players are likewise. When we get in front, I think we need to learn, a little bit better, how to see a game out.”

With Craig Bryson and Charlie Gilmour still unavailable and David Wotherspoon just emerging from a period of self-isolation, Davidson does not have many options to rotate his squad following their latest trip.

But he said: “I will probably have to make up a couple of changes. There’s a few boys carrying knocks and niggles who played through it on Thursday. I need to make sure they are OK.

“I would love to play them all but I need to make sure I am looking after them, make sure I get the right balance because it’s so important to win the game on Sunday.

“Dundee United are a very good team and if we don’t turn up we won’t get three points, won’t get a point. So that’s what I have got to think about.

“The next game is always the biggest one. My mind shifts to Dundee United and I won’t think about the (European) tie until Sunday night/Monday morning.”