St Johnstone’s late, late draw against Rangers could prove to be a crucial result in their bid for possible European football, according to manager Callum Davidson.
The Perth side, who pegged the Premiership champions back to 1-1 with a Liam Craig stoppage-time penalty, are now just three points behind Livingston with three league games left to play.
And, after bettering Steven Gerrard’s men for chances created at McDiarmid Park, anything less than that share of the points would have been hard to take.
“It was a really important one for us to close the gap on Livingston,” said Davidson.
“We want to keep the momentum going as we try to finish fifth in the table.
“I’m delighted. We started the game unbelievably well and caught Rangers cold a little bit.
“The only disappointing thing was we didn’t score a goal or two.
“Some of the chances were very good.
“Once we lost the goal we didn’t give up, we kept going and got our rewards in the end.
“It’s not often you play against Rangers and have more shots on target than they do, so that shows how well we played.
“We deserved at least a point and I’m really proud of the players.
“We have a big game on Sunday now in the cup then we’ll get focused on the league again.”
Guy Melamed was taken off midway through the first half but he will be available for Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final.
“Guy was struggling with double vision because of a migraine,” said Davidson.
“He’s fine and he’ll be OK for the weekend, it was just vision problems.
“And as someone who suffers them from myself – I can feel his pain.
“Chris Kane came on and the two strikers worked so hard on our shape, so it was a really good team effort.”
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) April 21, 2021
Craig’s penalty cancelled out a Scott Wright goal 10 minutes into the second half.
Before that Saints saw referee Euan Anderson change his mind on a spot-kick award moments after Wright’s opener.
“I thought they gave the penalty for the pull on Shaun Rooney but they said they actually gave it for a handball,” said Rooney.
“It came off Scott Wright’s foot and then goes up to hit his hand – which isn’t a penalty.
“They have ultimately come to the right decision in the end, but I thought it was a penalty on Shaun in the first place.
“These things happen in games, the ref took his time to make the decision because it’s crucial.
“It would have been a good time to score.”
I have got no complaints with the scoreline.
Meanwhile Gerrard agreed with Davidson that Saints were worthy of their point.
He said: “I thought we started the game really slowly and finished it really slowly as well. Everything in between I thought we were just OK.
“I have got no complaints with the scoreline.
“We nearly sneaked a result by just playing OK. We didn’t play any better than that. We should have seen the game out with better game management but unfortunately we didn’t.
“But I think St Johnstone more than deserved something out of the game.”