History, glory and the promise of European football all helped drive St Johnstone to a 2021 cup double.
And the prospect of extending their summer break didn’t hurt the cause either.
A combination of not being involved in the Betfred Cup group stage and going into the Europa League qualifiers in August for the third round has meant the Perth men’s return to pre-season date in the diary is June 28 and not a week-and-a-half earlier.
The extra rest has been welcomed by Perth boss Callum Davidson – nearly as much as it has by his players.
“I think the biggest motivation for the players in the final was getting themselves an extra 10 days off!” he joked.
“With Hibs, our season went on longer than the other teams so it’s good that we don’t have to come back until the end of the month.
“The break is important. It also means that David and Ali get a proper break as well, after having more games with their Northern Ireland and Canada.
“We’re fortunate that one of the bonuses of winning the Scottish Cup is the return date being pushed back.
“We’ll use it, recharge, regroup and be ready for pre-season.”
The draw for Saints’ Europa League qualifier takes place on July 19 and, with Sparta Prague, Galatasary, Rapid Vienna, PSV Eindhoven and FC Midtjylland as potential opponents, they are guaranteed a (tough) glamour tie.
“When you look at the teams we could draw in Europe there’s so much to look forward to,” said Davidson.
“European nights are special for a club like St Johnstone.
“My big hope is that we can get our fans into McDiarmid Park and they can travel to the away games as well.
“We’ve had great support at different places across Europe in the past.
“At the moment we just don’t know.”
Saints have already gone past last year’s season ticket total and Davidson was keen to put his appreciation on record.
Our season ticket sales are flying from fans renewing to families of 5 signing up for the first time ever!
There has never been a better time to be a Saintee 🔵⚪️
General sale ➡ https://t.co/y8G5z5BwjB
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) June 5, 2021
“I’d like to thank the people who supported us last season and are now showing their support again,” he said.
“It was obviously a great season. I’m sure our fans have enjoyed the success and how we’re trying to play football.
“There are big games coming up and it will be great for them to meet these players, especially the younger supporters, and be part of match days in the ground again.
“I think with a lot of clubs you might find that people want to come and watch a game of football who are either new supporters or who hadn’t been for a while before Covid.
“It’s a great afternoon or night at live football – especially in Scotland, where there is never a dull moment.”