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St Johnstone get play-off siege mentality after Bobby Madden’s double blunder in Inverness infuriates Callum Davidson

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson.
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle tapped into a bit of siege mentality before the first leg of the Premiership play-off.

And now St Johnstone are taking their shot before the second.

The Highlanders issued a long statement expressing their anger at Danny Devine and Wallace Duffy being suspended for Friday night’s game.

On the eve of the high stakes return fixture at McDiarmid Park, Saints boss Callum Davidson has got officialdom in his sights.

Mistakes: Referee Bobby Madden

Davidson was infuriated that there were two mistakes made by referee Bobby Madden and his assistants in allowing Reece McAlear’s first goal to stand when the visitors were 2-0 up and in cruise control.

And he wasn’t feeling any better about it two days later.

“When I watched the Rangers game against Hearts and the boy Nathaniel Atkinson got a head knock when Rangers were attacking and the game stopped, that made what happened on Friday worse,” he said.

“You get frustrated on the sidelines but it was a head knock and I’m sure the rules say a head knock, especially with both players down, it should be stopped.

“But the referee let the game go on and they scored and the boy was offside.

“It does infuriate you as it can be the turning point. It hasn’t ruined the tie but it would have put us in a stronger position.

“We can’t dwell on it but we can hope to get a couple of good decisions going for us in this game and it will even itself out.

“There’s belief in this group. They’ve seen a couple of bad decisions go against us.

“There’s that little bit of: ‘I tell you what, we’ve had a few unfair decisions but let’s use it as a positive – let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.’”

Playing against refs

Davidson, whose team suffered a string of awful decisions during their long losing run at the end of 2021, added: “We know we are having to sometimes play against the refs.

“If it is one mistake then you can go ‘OK’, but two blatant ones.

“It’s about consistency. If I didn’t see the cup final on Saturday I probably wouldn’t be so mad.

“I let it go and then watched the game and saw the game stopped for a head knock.

“Bobby obviously doesn’t stop games for head knocks, it must be how he refs the games.

“Maybe he needs to look at how each referee takes charge of each game to make sure we know what goes on.

“We know where we are and what we have to do.

“We played well for 70 minutes and even after losing the goals we weren’t as bad as I thought we were.

“You take stock and we need to play with the enthusiasm and energy we started with and if we can do that for 90 minutes, then I believe we will get the result.”

Davidson revealed that all those who featured on Friday will be fit, with Theo Bair among a couple of possible additions.

The pressure couldn’t be bigger but Davidson has faith his players will respond to it.

“I think people saw how we played under pressure in Inverness on Friday night,” he said.

“That’s basically what I asked ask for. I thought we performed. We were there, we stood up, we were brilliant.

“Now we just have to repeat it with more of the same and a little bit of composure and belief.

“We believe we can win the tie. That’s the most important thing. It would be a harder task if we did not believe in ourselves.

“We were all disappointed not to win on Friday night but the reality is it was only a draw. We are not a goal down.

“Training was good. They were bubbly, lively. It was more of a recovery day today because the ties are so close together with a little bit of tactical stuff worked on as well.

“They were all in good spirits and desperate to win the game. That’s the biggest thing.”

3 St Johnstone talking points: Why THOSE subs will make Callum Davidson’s team selection easy while Billy Dodds has bigger problems to solve

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