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Callum Davidson gives his St Johnstone players LASK orders for European tie

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

Callum Davidson believes St Johnstone can use last season’s remarkable domestic cup-winning double as inspiration for their Europa League Conference play-off against LASK in Austria on Thursday.

The Perth side stunned Scottish football by capturing the League Cup and Scottish Cup double which took them into Europe.

After losing to Galatasary in the Europa League, the Perth side now face LASK for a place in the Europa League Conference group stages with the first game at the Worthersee Stadion, and Davidson insists that is a huge incentive.

“I think the players realise and know how big a game this is,” said boss Davidson, who is again without midfielder David Wotherspoon who is still self-isolating as a Covid-19 close contact.

“Last year they managed to do the unbelievable by winning the cup double, so they know it is in the realms of possibility.

“It would be stupid not to say it because they know what they can achieve.

“Some of the younger ones may not realise how big an occasion it is, but these chances don’t come around all that often especially for a team like St Johnstone. They will be going all out to try and get a result.”

Davidson insists his players can also take hope from their performance in the 1-1 draw against Galatasary in Istanbul, before the 4-2 defeat at McDiarmid Park.

He said: “It is very similar (to the Galatasaray game). We are probably underdogs in the game.

“LASK were very good last year in the league, had some great results, got to last year’s cup final, they are a very good team, a very strong team.

“So we will be underdogs but we will go into the game tomorrow trying to replicate the performance we had in Istanbul.

“That made the players believe they can compete at this level.

“Last year they showed in big games we can perform well, that is the biggest message I will probably give to them.

“You performed in the big games and did it consistently, make sure you go out and do it again.

“It is a chance to create something pretty special for St Johnstone, qualifying for this league so whatever we do, make sure we do it right and to the best of our ability.”

Davidson, in the absence of Wotherspoon, is happy to have attacker Glenn Middleton back at the Perth club for a second loan spell from Rangers.

He said: “Glenn is a big player for us. He can create and with David Wotherspoon not being here, he is a welcome addition to the squad.

“It gives me a few different options.”