St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has admitted to “getting a little bit sick” of the message he is having to give to his players week after week.
Just because Saints are on a dispiriting run of results – five defeats out of six – doesn’t mean there is a lot needing fixed in the McDiarmid Park side to turn that into a run of victories.
But Davidson is well aware that unquestionable commitment and, in many facets of the game, unquestionable quality, do not out-weigh cold, hard points.
“I’m getting a little sick of talking to the players about good performances,” said the Perth boss.
“We’re disappointed with the points we’ve got from the performances.
“They know themselves they are playing with confidence, energy and enthusiasm. But it’s about turning that into points.
“It’s important we think as a group how to get those points on the board.
“Sometimes when you are desperate for points and want to do well, you go on the front foot. That might not always be suited to the game.”
Reflecting on Saints’ latest weekend frustration at Livingston, Davidson is in no doubt that the defeat was self-inflicted.
“You could sum it up with the two-minute spell where we shot ourselves in the foot,” he said.
“Giving away two goals like that made it really hard to come back from, especially at a place like Livingston.
“It was disappointing for me but what I’ll give the players is that they reacted really well and fought hard.
“Chances, crosses and final third entries – all the types of things you look for to score goals – are there.
“Hopefully we can get that little break. We need to give ourselves a chance in games by scoring the first goal.
“And if we are 1-0 down, come back and sneak a draw when it is deserved. It’s really important going forward that we make sure to fight and scrap.
“The one thing I will say is that in the nine games they have never once given up and thought it was done. Even at Rangers when we were 3-0 down.”
When a team is so glaringly toiling to find the net, as Saints are, the spotlight will inevitably shine brightest on the strikers. So far Stevie May has one to his name this season and the same goes for Michael O’Halloran, while last year’s top scorer, Callum Hendry, is yet to get off the mark.
“I’m positive and believe if we keep playing the way we are, the chances will continue to come and the strikers are going to score,” said Davidson.
“I believe in them and that is why they are here. Hopefully they can get the goal to give them the confidence to move on to net 10 or 15 goals a season.
“There are a lot of different aspects to the game and the strikers all work hard up front.”
Davidson stressed that goal-scoring should be a responsibility shared around the team. Saints are yet to convert from a free-kick or a corner, making set-pieces an obvious area with room for improvement in the weeks ahead.
On that front, the return of Murray Davidson, who got his head to a few crosses into the box at Livingston, should help.
“You need others to chip in with goals to relieve some pressure on the strikers,” said the Saints manager.
“I think it’s important we become more of a threat from set-plays.
“Murray Davidson came in and was excellent. He gave us the steel and fight we need, and was good in both boxes.”