Quarter-final Scottish Cup hero Zander Clark will be fit for St Johnstone’s last-four clash with St Mirren.
Manager Callum Davidson has confirmed that the toe injury which sidelined his goalkeeper for the Hibs match last weekend has healed.
And the man who set-up Chris Kane’s last gasp equaliser against Rangers before saving two spot-kicks in the Ibrox penalty shoot-out will be back between the posts at Hampden Park on Sunday.
“Zander is good,” Davidson reported. “The toe injury has cleared up so that is a positive for Sunday.
Now see this. This is football.
The hunger, the desire, the fight, the passion, that never say die attitude.
Don't let anyone ever try and tell or show you different!
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) April 26, 2021
“As good as Elliott (Parish) was against Hibs, it’s great to have Zander back.
The Rangers match could prove to be Tanser’s last for Saints but Davidson hasn’t given up on the left-back deciding to accept the contract extension he was offered a few months ago.
“I would like Scott to stay and I’ve told him that,” said the Perth boss. “We made him an offer back in January but it’s a decision for Scott and his family.
“I’m hoping we can persuade him to stay because he has been good this season.”
On a more general point about his soon to be out-of-contract players, Davidson said: “I haven’t had any notes of interest for any of my players. As far as I’m aware there is nothing there.
“But once you get to the last six months of a contract they are free to speak to other people.
“Hopefully I can get another couple of players signed up by the end of this week.”
Steven Gerrard, David Martindale and Steve Clarke make up the Scottish Football Writers Association quartet.
The fact that Davidson’s inclusion was expected, and thoroughly deserved, shouldn’t take away from the scale of the achievement in his rookie season as a number one.
If you’d asked me in October time, I’d have said ‘not a chance’.
“I’m very honoured to be named along with the other contenders,” said the man who succeeded Tommy Wright at McDiarmid Park.
“The players have performed on the pitch to help me get to that position. I’m delighted to be up there in my first season.
“If you had asked me in October time, I’d have said ‘not a chance’. But lately we’ve been really good and it’s all credit to the players.
“I had seven years as an assistant and tried to learn as much as I could along the way to prepare myself for being a manager.
“It’s been extremely difficult with Covid and the rules and regulations with it. That has been the hardest part of the job.”
A safety-first McDiarmid mantra was passed down from one cup-winning Saints manager to another.
“First and foremost you always have to set your sights on staying in the Premiership at St Johnstone,” said Davidson.
“Anything else you can achieve is a bonus.
“That was how we worked under Tommy and it’s the same now – get the points you need as soon as you can and take it from there.
“I’ve set myself a high bar for next season – it’s going to be tough!”
It would be nice to go on a bus around the city.
Davidson hopes that once the Scottish Government allows turnstiles to open again, the Perthshire public will be excited to see his young side in the flesh.
“We want to say thanks to everybody for the support we’ve had this season,” he said. “You can’t see the support but you can feel it.
“It would be nice to go on a bus around the city.
“We know how much support we’ve been getting and we know how tough it must have been for them to miss out on some big games.
“They’ve missed out on two trips to Hampden already. It will be a third on Sunday and hopefully there will be a fourth.
“Hopefully the kids will be watching their mums and dads jumping about in their living rooms on Sunday afternoon again.
“I’ve got a few friends whose children are all wearing St Johnstone tops now and it would be nice to think there a lot more like them.”
Be it in the latter stages of the Betfred Cup, the Scottish Cup quarter-final or the final league match before the split, Saints have become ‘big game’ specialists.
And long may it continue.
“Playing Rangers twice in succession is always hard – mentally as well as physically,” said Davidson.
“We rose to that challenge. We were very strong.
“You can see that their attitude, work-rate and energy levels are right up there at a very high level.
“We’ve got the feeling of having won at Hampden twice.
“The players that they are really keen to achieve more this season. Anything we get from now is an added bonus. Everyone is up for it and ready to go.”