Empty Hampden didn’t dampen enjoyment of winning a trophy – Callum Davidson

Posted Monday, March 01, 2021 by PA

Empty Hampden didn’t dampen enjoyment of winning a trophy – Callum Davidson

An emotional Callum Davidson savoured a special but “surreal” moment after leading St Johnstone to their second major trophy.

Shaun Rooney’s header from a first-half corner earned Saints a 1-0 victory over Livingston in the Betfred Cup final.

Davidson was assistant to Tommy Wright when the Perth side won the 2014 Scottish Cup and this experience was very different at an empty Hampden.

The 44-year-old said: “I’m not an emotional person but it’s probably made me a little bit emotional. I’m just delighted for everybody involved.

“It’s difficult times for everybody and seeing them after the game, all the staff and all the players, was a pretty special moment.

“Hopefully people back in Perth who support St Johnstone can celebrate it and get a bit of cheer.

“It was surreal but it didn’t stop the enjoyment of winning the trophy. We can’t share it with the supporters, which would have been special, the players would have been out on the pitch with their families.

“Hopefully we can do something special when lockdown eases for all the families and get supporters together and really enjoy the occasion.”

Davidson added: “I am working tomorrow so I can enjoy it so much. I will probably go home to my wife and open a glass of bubbly, enjoy it, and get to work again for Wednesday night.

“I need to remind the players in the dressing room they have a huge game on Wednesday (against Hamilton) but it’s really important, especially just now, that we enjoy the occasion, the first time we have won this trophy in our history. It’s a monumental achievement.”

Rooney scored from St Johnstone’s first real chance having also netted in the previous two rounds.

“All credit to Shaun, I am delighted for him,” Davidson said. “I need to actually send him straight home now. He is enjoying himself, quite rightly so, but we have a huge game on Wednesday.

“Special mention to David (Wotherspoon) and Stevie May, who have won a Scottish Cup and League Cup double.

“Michael (O’Halloran) didn’t manage to get on but he would have been another one so special mention to those three because it’s a huge achievement for a club like St Johnstone and pretty special for them to be part of it.”

Davidson has sealed the club’s first League Cup triumph in his first season as a manager.

“It’s something I will probably look back on in 10 years’ time and go ‘wow, that was brilliant’,” the former Saints player said.

“Just now, I am actually just over the moon we won. To be part of that in 2014 as assistant, and now to be able to do it in my own right, I will probably get a little bit emotional if you keep asking that type of question, so don’t!

“I am just over the moon for everyone involved, for my backroom staff, they work so hard for me. It’s a big thanks to them and for my family back home, and all the messages I got from people in Dunblane and just all around the world wishing me all the best.

“When people send you messages, just simple things, it means a lot.”

Midfielder Murray Davidson completed an unwanted double after missing the game with a calf problem seven years after a serious knee injury ruled him out of the Scottish Cup showpiece.

“He had a setback at the start of the week,” the manager said. “We knew we had to push him. That was the only down side of the week.”

Livingston boss David Martindale handed the credit to Saints and reminded his players of their achievements in getting to the final.

“I’m disappointed but I have got to give St Johnstone credit. They defended their box very well at set-plays and they attacked set-plays in our box. They pressed us really well, never gave us a lot of time on the ball in the middle of the park.

“I tried to make early changes to get us back in the game but, again, I have to give St Johnstone and Callum credit, they dealt with those changes very well.

“It’s a wee bit raw but I gave the players a fist-bump after the game and said ‘look, you can’t dwell on the negatives, you have to look on the positives. You have been fantastic and you took Livingston to a final’.

“You don’t always get what you deserve in life and hard work doesn’t always mean you get just rewards. You need a moment of brilliance, a bit of individual creativity, a bit of luck sometimes.

“Shaun Rooney was the man who did that, he took his goal fantastically well and the delivery was fantastic as well, and that changed the game.”


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