St Johnstone survival would rank alongside double glory for boss Callum Davidson

St Johnstone v Celtic – cinch Premiership – McDiarmid Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson claims avoiding relegation this season would match their double cup triumph given the challenges they have faced.

The Saints boss believes there is an understanding throughout the club of the issues that have hampered their attempts to build on last season’s Hampden glory.

Davidson is preparing to face an Aberdeen team who saw manager Stephen Glass sacked on Sunday in the wake of their Scottish Cup exit at Motherwell.

The former full-back survived his club’s shock cup defeat by Kelty Hearts as chairman Steve Brown backed him in the transfer market amid a campaign undermined by injury and the sale of key players Jason Kerr and Ali McCann in the final hours of the August window.

Saints have had more obstacles to contend with in recent weeks, including losing Chris Kane to a knee injury for the rest of the season and seeing Cammy MacPherson suffer another dislocated shoulder.

Davidson also felt his side were on the end of a very harsh red card and penalty award in their past two games, a draw with Dundee United and 2-1 defeat by St Mirren.

But the Saints boss appreciates as much as anyone at the moment that football management is a precarious business.

With his team bottom of the cinch Premiership ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Pittodrie, Davidson said: “With the pressure I am obviously under now myself, it’s always sad to see a fellow manager go.

“I played with Stephen in the under-21s and know him well. I know he’s a very good coach.

“But unfortunately that’s the business we are in. It’s really disappointing he has lost his job, more as a friend and someone I spoke to over the time.

“That’s our job. I’ve got enough to worry about at the moment in my place. I just need to make sure I start winning some games.

“It’s a tough business. It’s one thing you do know in football if you’re a manager – at some point you probably will get sacked.

“I like to think, no matter whether I’m here or not, that I’ve got a good relationship with the chairman and the people at St Johnstone. I have been here long enough, they know that I want to do the best I can.

“I think we know as a club why we are where we are. We have had loads of injuries – I think we have had eight operations compared to none last season. We have had numerous poor decisions against us.

“We are trying to rebuild that and we have managed to sign some really good players. The challenge is to get everyone fitted in as quick as possible to get results to get us off the bottom of the league.

“If we manage to stay in the league it will be an unbelievable achievement, just as much as winning the double last year.

“Different pressures, different styles, different management – how to look after players, trying to rebuild a team in January with six or seven boys injured.”

The 45-year-old added: “There’s a lot of strong teams and not a lot of difference between them, and for me, we have basically been on the end of some really, really bad refereeing decisions.

“They say it evens out, well we probably need six or seven decisions, so I don’t think it will.

“We have managed to change the mentality after the winter break, it’s been a really positive mindset from the players.

“Now we just need to make sure, when we do lose a goal or get a poor decision against us, it’s how we react. Because nobody is going to help us, outside St Johnstone.

“So we need to make sure we stick together and, when it happens. we keep playing our football.”

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