Callum Booth played through the pain barrier for St Johnstone at the weekend with an injured Achilles, manager Callum Davidson has revealed.
And, even though the former Dundee United and Hibs defender was only able to last for an hour of the Livingston match, the Perth boss hasn’t given up hope he can feature again this season.
“Callum was struggling,” said Davidson, whose other left wing-back, Tony Gallacher, won’t be back until next term.
“His Achilles has flared up.
“We took the gamble to play him because it was a game we needed to take something from.
“He took painkillers and all credit to him for playing.
“He was feeling it in the first half and it came to the point when we had to take him off.
“If we do get to the play-offs hopefully he’ll be available.”
💪🎉 | Glenn Middleton with the opener on Saturday pic.twitter.com/23Ty6aoLs1
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) May 9, 2022
James Brown replaced Booth and it was the Englishman’s cross a few minutes later that led to Glenn Middleton’s opening goal.
He might not be left-footed but Davidson talked-up Brown’s credentials for the wing-back role on that side of the pitch.
“James has come up with a real bit of quality to set-up the goal that Glenn finished off really well,” he said.
“I do think James can be a really good left-back.
“We’ve played him there in practice matches and he’s comfortable there, which isn’t the case with all right-backs.
“We did talk about what he should do in that sort of situation – take a touch and whip it in.
“It was a great cross.
“James picked up the pace of the game straight away. His last game was at Celtic.
“It’s about being ready to come on and make a difference when you’re called upon and James has done that at the weekend.”
‘Excellent’ Stevie May
Another player who caught the eye on Saturday was Stevie May, selected to start a match for the first time since early February.
“I thought Stevie was excellent,” said Davidson.
“He hasn’t started for a while but he’s trained unbelievably well and he looked to me as if he was desperate to play.
“That’s one of the reasons he was picked.
“I know what I’m going to get off Stevie.”
One of May’s key roles in the team is to be Saints’ pressing trigger.
“We talked about the right times to go and press,” said Davidson. “When somebody sets the tempo everybody else has to go and follow.
“When he does it, the rest have to go with him or you get gaps.
“I thought we did that a lot better on Saturday and kept the ball more. When we did lose it we could set the press better.
“Callum (Hendry) did it as well. It’s not as big a part of his game but he did it for the team.
“Livingston swarm the middle of the pitch and I thought we moved the ball down the sides well.
“In the end we were disappointed not to get the win.”
Davidson admitted that Dundee playing (against Hibs) a day earlier than Saints (against Aberdeen) will inform his team selection for Wednesday night’s penultimate Premiership fixture.
“We’ll see what the result is at Dens and from that we’ll make our decision on the team,” he said.
“We’ll also see who’s OK after playing on the astroturf. Usually it takes an extra day to recover.”