Callum Davidson reveals frustration at losing more players to Covid rules

St Johnstone v LASK – UEFA Europa Conference League – Play-offs – Second Leg – McDiarmid Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson admits he has no way of preventing more Covid-19 disruption after losing another two players to self-isolation rules ahead of their cinch Premiership encounter with Ross County.

Chris Kane and Eetu Vertainen were already missing due to household infections and another two unnamed players have been hit by the same blow.

Davidson said: “We are going to be missing four players with the Covid rules and regulations. It’s really out of our control. I can ask the players to be as safe as they can be, but players’ wives work, people live with families.

“I’m not sure how to keep them safe and everybody available. They are testing every day now so it’s a really hard one for myself. I find it really frustrating.

“Hopefully that’s the last of it, but I don’t really believe, with the surge of cases down in England, that it’s going to stop.

“The only thing I can think of doing is putting my players in a hotel for 14 days in a bubble.

“I wouldn’t do that to families in the situation we are in. It’s the only logical thing I can see, but then you are asking to go away from their families over Christmas so I don’t think it’s a viable option. The players might get Covid in the hotel getting served food or something. There really isn’t an answer.”

Saints have lost six consecutive matches and fell a point adrift of County at the foot of the table on Saturday when they suffered a 2-0 defeat by Motherwell.

Saints only had one shot on target and Davidson admitted after the game confidence was an issue.

The former Scotland international is demanding total commitment to get performances back up to their usual standards.

“If you play with an energy and enthusiasm then that brings confidence,” he said.

“I have been here myself and when you get nervous you get a bit heavy-legged and static and for me it’s just about reacting to things and sticking together.

“If we can get that first goal and that first win again then I think he will be on the right path again.

“I know I am missing a few, but I’ve got a few players back in the fold and I’ve got (Jacob) Butterfield and Viv Solomon-Otabor up to speed after their free transfers.”

Murray Davidson is among those back in contention.

“He was struggling before he got injured, he will play through anything for you, but he probably shouldn’t have played,” Davidson said. “But he is back to 98 per cent fit and he is a big player for us.”

Davidson is also looking forward to introducing Irish defender Dan Cleary in January after setting up his signing on a two-and-a-half-year contract from Dundalk.

“He has been in training for a couple of days, getting used to the players,” Davidson said. “We are quite excited at that one.

“It’s probably a position where we need to get that consistency. We have a couple of players out of contract as well so it’s important we get someone through the door.

“He is 26, he has played a lot of games in Ireland, a lot of games in Europe, started his career in England.”

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