Callum Davidson staying grounded after St Johnstone reach Betfred Cup final



Posted Sunday, January 24, 2021 by PA

Callum Davidson staying grounded after St Johnstone reach Betfred Cup final

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson told his players to make sure they follow an emphatic Hampden win over Hibernian by securing Betfred Cup glory.

Headed goals from Jason Kerr and Shaun Rooney either side of half-time put Saints in command and Craig Conway finished off the job just after the hour mark as Saints won 3-0 in the first semi-final of the weekend.

Davidson is in his first season as a manager and has the chance to lead the team with whom he started and ended his playing career to their first League Cup triumph.

But, despite a memorable evening in front of the television or laptops for Saints fans, the former Scotland defender cautioned that semi-finals are only a stepping stone to glory with Livingston or St Mirren to come in the final.

When asked where the win ranked in his career, the former Blackburn and Leicester player said: “I don’t know. Ask me after the final and I’ll tell you.

“It’s just a game to get to the final, that’s how I see it.

“I’m really proud of the players, I’m happy for the club and the supporters – albeit they couldn’t be here – and it gives some sort of cheer in difficult times.

“Hopefully the people of Perth and supporters around the world can tune in for the final and we can give them something to cheer about then.

“When the Old Firm fall out the competition you have got to try and take a chance. All we have done is give ourselves the chance to win the trophy.

“I said that to the players, we were brilliant, enjoy it, but make sure when we go to the final you win the cup.”

Davidson admitted he feared the win would not come during an opening half-hour which Hibs dominated and hit the frame of the goal through Jamie Murphy and Jackson Irvine. Zander Clark also pulled off good stops from Paul Hanlon and Murphy.

“The first 30 minutes Hibs were excellent and we rode our luck a little bit and once we started to settle down, the boys were brilliant,” Davidson said. “Especially the second half, we performed to a really high level and saw out the game really well.

“It’s nice because most of the time this season we have been the team that was playing well and got knocked out by a sucker punch, so it was nice to do it the other way round.

“I was concerned (in the first half-hour). They had too many chances, got the ball in our penalty box too often.

“Once we got the goal it settled the players and you saw that second half we moved the ball really well. We defended really well, Hibs are a very good attacking team, and I’m just delighted we got to the final.

“As the game went on we got stronger, they kept going and never stopped, and limited Hibs to very few chances second half.

“I asked them to be positive and brave second half because, with the system we play, we have to pass it and get involved, and they did that.”

Hibs never looked like launching a second-half comeback and head coach Jack Ross felt his players lacked the fight to get back in the game.

“I’m angry at the manner in which we played in the last 35 minutes,” he said. “We were far too meek in terms of taking an opportunity to get to a final.

“To balance that out, I thought we were good first half and didn’t deserve to be behind. But we were, so we had to retain our discipline in all aspects of our game and we didn’t do that.

“We spoke at half-time about continuing to do the same things because we had created a lot. But we didn’t because our reaction to conceding the second goal was nowhere near good enough.

“At two you still have a decent opportunity but we conceded the third because we got so ragged in our play and then it gets incredibly difficult.”

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