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Callum Davidson shuts down ‘free hit’ talk as St Johnstone seek to stun Celtic

Frustration: Clark concedes at Celtic Park
Frustration: Clark concedes at Celtic Park

Callum Davidson has urged St Johnstone stars to ‘revel’ in the Celtic Park atmosphere as they seek to pile the pressure on Aberdeen and St Mirren.

The Perth Saints have not won at Parkhead since Danny Swanson’s screamer secured a 1-0 triumph in March 2015.

However, fresh from successive victories against Motherwell and Livingston, Davidson’s charges arrive in Glasgow with renewed belief and momentum in their bid to avoid the drop.

Just six points separate St Johnstone from the Dons (ninth) and the Buddies (10th) — and Davidson is in no mood to view the contest against the Hoops as a ‘free hit’.

“It’s not a free hit. I don’t look at it that way,” said the Saints boss. “I want to get something out of the game to give teams round about us something to think about.

“We are on a good run of form, so we are going there trying to get a result.

“Players want to play in that sort of atmosphere. Certainly I always did. Hopefully they can revel in it.”

Davidson added: “We have to start well. That could be key. People talk about the noise there but we have to try and quieten down the fans a bit.

“That means not conceding early doors, like we did in the last game against Celtic.

“It is important we press them, and drop off into a good shape when they have the ball.”

Silver lining

While left-back Tony Gallacher is out for the rest of the season with a leg fracture sustained in the weekend win over Livingston, Davidson received good news from the medical team.

Irish defender Dan Cleary has been given the green light to feature after suffering a foot gash in a wild challenge from Lions defender James Penrice.

Tony Gallacher and Dan Cleary were both injured against Livingston - one of them badly.
Hammer-blow: Gallacher

Fellow defender James Brown also returns to the squad after shaking off a knock sustained on international duty with Malta.

“Dan is fine. He managed to get through training protecting the stitches in his foot so there are no problems with him,” said Davidson.

“As we suspected, it has been confirmed Tony did suffer a fracture to his leg in last week’s game.

“He will be missing for the rest of the season.

“We have six or seven injured so it shows the value of having a deep squad to pick from at this stage of the season.”

Postecoglou plaudits

In his rookie season as a manager Davidson bagged two trophies.

And he has been impressed with the impact made by Treble-chasing Ange Postecoglu in his first campaign in Scotland.

‘Refreshing’: Postecoglou

“Ange has his own style of football, very attacking with high energy,” added Davidson. “It is good to watch and he has been successful so far.

“It can be hard for someone coming into a new country but his teams have performed well in big games. He says it how it is and it’s been refreshing.

“But hopefully we can put a bit of pressure on Celtic.”

Callum Davidson explains why St Johnstone switched to all-blue kit and why it’s here to stay

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