Callum Davidson believes St Johnstone’s campaign has been “phenomenal” no matter what happens in next weekend’s Scottish Cup final after they clinched fifth spot in the Premiership.
A goalless draw with Livingston was enough to keep their visitors at bay and guarantee Davidson’s side will be playing European football next season.
It is a remarkable turnaround for Saints after they sat bottom of the table in October and Davidson, who also steered the club to League Cup success in February, is delighted with the way it has ended.
The Perth outfit have had to cope with an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak that again robbed them of key personnel for the visit of Livi, and Davidson has paid tribute to his squad’s resilience in recent days.
He said: “It’s a phenomenal achievement to finish fifth, to compete for trophies. I’d have taken that. It’s been a phenomenal season, whatever happens next week. I can’t ask any more of the players.
“I’m thrilled for the players. I don’t think it was a great game at all, there were very few chances for either side.
“From where we were (in October) to come through this and after the week we’ve had as well.
“The players put their bodies on the line. The lads have hardly trained the last two weeks so to get that performance, as in effort, attitude and desire to get the result we needed, was fantastic.
“It’s a really small group and the way they’ve played their football other than today was in a really positive manner.”
Davidson has revealed he expects to again be without players for their Hampden final against Hibernian because of coronavirus but is hopeful the issue can be minimised this week.
He added: “I’m just hoping for good fortune with Covid at the club and hopefully we are doing everything we can to make sure no one has got it or passed it on.
“Training has been pretty difficult. It’s not great, not ideal preparation, but you saw the character we have to try and get a result.
“We’re basically praying we get nothing else.”
Livingston manager David Martindale confessed to having mixed emotions after his side missed out on fifth place by goal difference.
The West Lothian club were not assured of their place in Europe had they qualified due to issues with UEFA club licensing.
Martindale, who revealed he expects Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to join Aberdeen for a fee this summer, said: “Let’s be honest, we lost fifth place by two goals.
“The six goals we lost at Parkhead (a 6-0 defeat to Celtic last month) is probably where we’ve let ourselves down slightly.
“I’m disappointed but, on reflection, it’s been a fabulous season and the boys have to take massive credit for that.
“There was a part of me with trepidation if we finished fifth and the club couldn’t have got into Europe. It would’ve brought a massive negative to us, so there’s relief and disappointment.”
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