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St Johnstone performance was a ‘big step forward’ going into the play-offs, says Callum Davidson

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson applauds the fans at full time.
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson applauds the fans at full time.

St Johnstone showed they can now deal with big-game pressure in securing their play-off place, according to Callum Davidson.

And the Perth boss believes the controlled performance that earned them a 1-0 win over Aberdeen was a “big step forward”.

“Last night’s result put a lot of pressure on us,” said Davidson.

“Dundee winning by a couple of goals meant this was a game where we had to perform under pressure.

“I didn’t think we did that against St Mirren – under pressure we couldn’t do it – but I thought we did that tonight.

“That was a big step forward towards the play-off games, having that belief in each other that we can perform when we need to.”

Who next?

It’s Hibs up next on Sunday but all thoughts can now turn to facing Arbroath or Inverness Caley Thistle over two legs.

“They’re two very good teams,” said Davidson.

“Arbroath have been phenomenal this season, especially at home.

“Inverness play really good football, they get it down and try and get in behind you.

“So it will be a tough game whoever we play against.

“We have a game on Sunday to take care of and it becomes a little bit irrelevant for us.

“We have a few knocks and niggles and a few boys near suspensions.

“So we’ll assess the squad on Friday and take it from there.

“But the main focus now is the 180 minutes of enormous football ahead of us.

“We want to stay in the league. We’re desperate to stay in the league. I think you saw that tonight.”

Hendry again

Davidson, who revealed Stevie May was left out of his squad because of a tight hamstring, had Callum Hendry to thank for another crucial goal.

“Callum has been fantastic since he came back,” he said. “He needs to keep that going for another two or three games now.

St Johnstone’s Callum Hendry celebrates his goal.

“It was a great move for the goal – something we have worked on quite a lot and we are starting to get our rewards from it.”

Davidson added: “We knew Aberdeen would have a lot of possession. We had to concentrate and work really hard and I thought we did that.

“We had that wee lapse of concentration at Livingston that cost us three points but tonight we managed to see it out

“All I wanted was the result to get us into the play-Offs and give us a chance but the performance gives us confidence. We have to go there with a spring in our step and make sure we stay in this league.

“We have adjusted little things and I thought the boys performed really well. I have a little more consistency in my team now and that’s a big thing.

“We were five or six points behind Dundee at one stage.

“We still have 180 minutes of football to go, so if we can play like that and put whoever it is under pressure, we need to make sure we use that pressure and stay in this league.”

St Johnstone 1-0 Aberdeen: Saints secure play-off place and relegate Dundee thanks to Callum Hendry winner

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