Callum Davidson could be forgiven for allowing his thoughts to drift towards Hampden — St Johnstone’s unofficial second home.
The Scottish Cup final looms large and, with the prospect of a fortunate band of Saintees in the stands to share in the occasion, it becomes a more tantalising proposition with each passing day
However, the St Johnstone boss is adamant the ongoing chase for Europe — fifth place is in their hands — will ensure that minds do not prematurely wander towards that May 22 showpiece against Hibernian.
The Perth Saints are ahead of Livingston by virtue of a superior goal difference prior to a testing trip to Celtic Park tonight. The Lions, meanwhile, welcome champions Rangers to West Lothian.
And a guaranteed place in the Europa Conference League second qualifying round could come down to a showdown between the sides on the final day of the Premiership season.
“With Hibs being in the final too, the European places go down to fifth place — so it’s really important to get that spot,” emphasised Davidson. “We had a great result against Hibs at Easter Road to put us fifth and give us this platform.
“Livingston play Rangers tonight and we play Celtic so it’s two really tough games for us before we go head-to-head on Saturday.
“It will be exciting and it’s good to have something to play for right through to the end of the season.
“Sometimes you get games where there’s nothing in them — but there is massive importance attached to our last three games of the season.”
Davidson has also extolled the benefits of a condensed fixture list when it comes to keeping a lid on the tension and anticipation.
With that dramatic triumph over St Mirren on Sunday still so fresh in the memories, it is remarkable to consider that the Scottish Cup final is just 10 days away.
“It’s been a bit different this year because the Scottish Cup has been condensed into a shorter space of time,” he added. “Normally you get the semi-final, then four or five games before the final. This year we only have a couple of weeks between the two.”
In a campaign of laudable firsts, defeating Celtic would be another one for Davidson.
St Johnstone claimed a fine 1-1 draw at Parkhead in December, with a late Mo Elyounoussi strike required to rob the visitors of all three points. However, the Glasgow giants won twice in Perth.
“That [defeating Celtic] would be nice but it will be very difficult,” continued Davidson. “It’s really important we keep them quiet for the opening 20-to-30 minutes and try and frustrate them as long as we can.
“We will go there in the right frame of mind and make sure they are physically right. We will make a couple of changes to freshen up the squad and we will see what happens.”
Davidson will also be seeking to ensure Scott Brown’s final match at Celtic Park falls flat, despite expressing his respect for a man he coached during his stint as part of the Scotland backroom staff.
He added: “With his attitude and performance levels, he’s a great credit to Scottish football. When I was with him with Scotland, I saw his qualities first hand and I’ve played against him as well.
“All credit to him, he’s had a fantastic career and his family can be very proud of him.”
Davidson, meanwhile, was circumspect about the lack of St Johnstone representation on a four-man PFA player of the year shortlist announced yesterday.
The nominees were made up entirely of Rangers players — Steven Davis, Ryan Kent, Allan McGregor and James Tavernier — as the Gers close in on an undefeated Premiership campaign.
“Our boys have played really well but Rangers have been phenomenal this season,” lauded Davidson. “They have been undefeated in the league and they’ve had a great run in Europe. So there’s no disappointment from me.
“I think my players have, probably latterly, started performing at a high level.
“Maybe at the start of the season, we had one or two — but the performances over the last two or three months have been exceptional. Hopefully, that can continue for the last three games.
“If you asked the players whether they would rather be nominated or get to two cup finals they’d all say get to two cup finals!
“I’m just pleased they are playing well and I’m getting asked those kind of questions.”