Callum Davidson believes he will be a stronger manager for his 2021/22 trials and tribulations.
Preserving St Johnstone’s Premiership status would be a worthy accomplishment for the Perth club given the depths they had plummeted midway through this season from their double cup-winning high of the preceding campaign.
And lessons have been taken on board by a boss still learning on the job as a number one.
“Staying in this league would be pretty special from where we were at the turn of the year,” said Davidson.
“It would be a huge achievement from where we were.
“Part of the motivation here is proving people wrong.
“A lot of them had St Johnstone down months ago.
“It has obviously been totally different from last season and I have probably learned more about myself as a manager and the players.
“Sometimes when you are winning games and on the crest of a wave it is easy to be taken along.
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) May 10, 2022
“But the determination is there to do well for this football club.
“Last season was great because it hadn’t really happened before – a club like St Johnstone winning the double. And we had clubs chapping at the door wanting to buy our players.
“That’s what success does and it is a difficult one to deal with.
“But I will be a better manager for this experience, without a doubt. Hopefully I have learned how to do things better.
“It has been a difficult season but hopefully we can end it on a high.”
Focus not a problem
Finding tunnel vision hasn’t been a problem for Davidson despite the fact Dundee’s game against Hibs had a big impact on the task in front of Saints against Aberdeen on Wednesday night.
“We’ve blocked out everything else completely,” he said. “Our focus is purely on winning our game.
“The result at Dundee doesn’t change that.
“Aberdeen will be a tough test and we want to finish off the league season at home with a positive result and give our supporters something to cheer about.
“The more positives in terms of performance and attitude we can create the better.”
💪🎉 | Glenn Middleton with the opener on Saturday pic.twitter.com/23Ty6aoLs1
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) May 9, 2022
With play-off survival the target, would momentum in the last two league games be more important to Davidson than having fresh legs in his squad?
“For me it’s a bit of both,” he said.
“We want to make sure we have as many players available as possible – we’ve got some on a number of bookings, which we need to bear in mind.
“But, as I said, it’s also important that we get a result.
“Playing with energy and enthusiasm is big if we’re going into the play-offs.
“I’d obviously like to see the strikers scoring. It was good to see Stevie May playing well and getting his confidence up.”
‘I believe in them’
The psychological element of Davidson’s job has never been more significant than it is just now.
“I believe in these players and believe we’ve got a great chance of staying in this league,” he said.
“I keep saying that to them.
“We’re collecting points to get us out of the situation we were in. That’s a massive difference.
“They are a fantastic bunch of lads and they work extremely hard.
“That helps their situation, whether it’s getting a new deal here or somewhere else.
“There are different circumstances.
“Some are playing for their places in the team, others are playing for their families and some are playing for contracts elsewhere.
“I don’t really mind as long as they are putting the effort in.
“We all know how important it is to stay in the Premiership.”