Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Danny McNamara: St Johnstone loan star admits to cup final jealousy

Danny McNamara challenges Lawrence Shankland.
Danny McNamara challenges Lawrence Shankland.

There are no regrets and nor should there be.

For starters, it was a decision he had no control over.

And more importantly, for his long-term career development, a return to Millwall has worked out better than Danny McNamara could have imagined.

Established in the first team of the club he supported as a boy, the right-back was voted young player of the year and now has the security of a long-term contract.

No regrets is one thing. No envy would be pushing it, though.

The Republic of Ireland international – who was on course to be a strong contender for Scotland’s young player of the year, never mind St Johnstone’s, such was his impact in the first half of the Premiership season – would have loved to have been involved in his loan club’s Betfred Cup triumph.

And he’d love to be involved in their attempt to make it a cup double on Saturday.

“I think I had been on the bench in the early rounds of the Betfred Cup,” said McNamara. “After I left I watched the other games (semi-final and final) at home.

“When they won the final I must admit I was a little bit jealous. I wanted to be part of it.

“I was sitting watching it with a pint or two. I was over the moon.

“And I’m jealous that they are in another final now. It’s fantastic and I hope they go all the way.

“The one that did it for me was the quarter-final the other week against Rangers. I take it the goal went down as Zander’s? I was going mad at the TV.

“St Johnstone making the final of both cups just shows what a club they are. Usually you would see the Old Firm there.

“It’s remarkable and they deserve it.”

Thank goodness things have progressed so well for McNamara in south London otherwise he would forever have been consumed with ‘if onlys’.

“It’s gone very smoothly and a lot better than I thought,” he said.

“I was expecting to go back to Millwall and play five or six games.

“I was fortunate enough to get my debut early and impressed.

“I was out of the team for a little while but came back in and kept the shirt until the end of the season.

“I’ve loved it and didn’t expect to play this much.

“Being a Millwall fan, receiving young player of the year is just absolutely brilliant for me. It’s a dream.

“I was over the moon and it was great for my family as well.”

McNamara made no attempt to downplay the importance of Callum Davidson’s contribution to his development.

“Listen, without St Johnstone and Callum Davidson I probably wouldn’t be where I am now,” he said.

“Callum played me week in, week out and showed faith in me. It made me a better player.

“I can’t thank St Johnstone enough and the club will always hold a place in my heart.

“It obviously helped that Callum and Gary Rowett are good friends and had been at Millwall together.

“Callum was telling him how I was getting on. Without St Johnstone, I wouldn’t have played or been called back this season.

“Every training session was of a high standard. Callum, Steven MacLean and Alex Cleland made sure that never dropped.

“I’m not surprised to see them doing well. The standards are so high and everyone learns a lot.

“Callum will be a very good manager at a high level.”

Moving to a different country in the middle of a pandemic and then seeing his flat-mate, Tanto Olaofe, depart could have been a recipe for homesickness for a young man looking to make his name in the game.

But McNamara fell into the right football environment and the right domestic one.

“I settled in really quickly,” he said. “The lads are the main reason for that.

“I had great neighbours opposite me too. They were St Johnstone fans.

“The guy opposite was bringing over food for me about three times a week. Top quality food.

“You know what, it felt like I was at home.

“It was a club flat so I think the neighbour knew the Saints lads use it.

“Luckily enough I got really friendly with him and his wife. It was like a mum and dad for me.

“Whenever I was getting deliveries and I wasn’t there they would take them in.

“And when I couldn’t get parked they would let me park in their drive. I couldn’t have asked for better neighbours.

“I think it just summed up the club with how friendly it was.”

Danny McNamara.

McNamara added: “The fans were class. Whenever I was out they would recognise me and be nothing but positive and friendly.

“There is nothing better than playing in front of fans. Not meeting the St Johnstone fans was really gutting actually.

“I’m sure I’ll be up to watch the team at some point so hopefully I can meet them then.

“I’m meant to meet Liam Gordon and Callum Hendry this summer in the off-season. I’m planning to come up to Scotland.

“I got really close with Liam, Callum and Craig Conway. We had a coffee club. We played golf quite a lot.

“I made really good friends and they will be friends I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

Shaun Rooney was the main beneficiary of McNamara’s premature departure.

It’s no slight on the 22-year-old, far from it, to say that didn’t exactly work out too badly for the Perth club.

This has been an ‘everyone’s a winner’ story.

“Shaun was class with me,” he said. “He was out the team for a while but he always kept level-headed and was always supportive.

“We would discuss things and bounce off each other.

“Seeing him do so well now is absolutely brilliant and I’m sure he’ll continue to do that.”