Staying at St Johnstone pays dividends for former Rangers target Murray Davidson
THEY are not the biggest club in the country, nor the most glamorous, but at least St Johnstone can be relied upon to pay their players’ wages. Murray Davidson, who was the subject of an offer by Rangers last summer, admits that he is glad just to have stability in his professional life.
Davidson grew accustomed to his salary being withheld at Livingston, who were dealing with administration when he joined St Johnstone in 2009. Had the Perth club not turned down Rangers’ bid for him last year, he would be in the midst of another financial crisis now. With Hearts also struggling to pay their players, Davidson describes it as “part and parcel” of modern football.
Which is not to say that the ubiquity of football’s economic problems dilutes their impact. “It doesn’t make it any easier,” says Davidson. “Hearts have had a few problems. Portsmouth have gone [into administration] again for the second time in couple of years. It’s not great. Whether clubs are spending money they don’t have, I honestly don’t know. I’m not too good on that side of the game.
“I’m just happy to be at St Johnstone, who are one of the best-run clubs. You know every month or week that you’re getting your money. When I first came, it was a bit of a shock to the system. I was at Livingston, and it got to the stage where, if I got paid a couple of times, it was a shock. At St Johnstone, you are guaranteed your money, which is a bonus I guess.”
The game has reached a sorry pass if payment for a week’s work is regarded as a bonus, but Davidson is too young to know anything different. Still only 23, he was scarcely out of his teenage years when the Livingston players were taken, one by one, into an office to discover their fate.
“There was a queue of boys and you sort of got told ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It might be different at Rangers, but I’m sure there will be cuts. Top earners will leave, young boys, everybody is affected. I know what they’re going through. It’s not easy, but you’ve just got to try as best you can to concentrate on training and playing.”
It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Davidson, whose team were thrashed by Dundee United, and knocked out of the William Hill Scottish Cup by Hearts but, as he prepares for today’s league match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie, he has enough perspective to understand that it could be much worse. He might have been with Rangers right now. “I’m a St Johnstone player and, looking back now, Rangers are in a bit of trouble aren’t they?”
Davidson is one of Scottish football’s brighter prospects. His goal against Hearts in midweek will have been a timely reminder for Craig Levein, the Scotland manager who is about to announce his squad for the forthcoming match against Slovenia. The St Johnstone midfield player has yet to earn a full cap for his country, but he has been included in two squads, most notably that for the Brazil match at the Emirates. Given that the World Cup qualifying campaign does not begin until September, the trip to Slovenia on Wednesday week represents an opportunity for Levein to experiment. Davidson believes that the Scotland manager has been refreshingly willing to give fringe players a chance.
“He has been great when I’ve been involved, always trying to help me. He has said that if I’m playing at a level he’s happy with then I’ll be in the squad. You can see over the last couple of years that he has not been shy in bringing in younger players. If you go through his last couple of squads, there are a lot of young players there.
“He has gone into the Championship. He has scouts working every weekend. I know when I was in his squad, I was watched quite a few times by his backroom staff. I think the days are gone where you have to play for a big club. Hopefully some time I’ll manage to get back into the squad. It doesn’t matter if it’s a couple of weeks or a couple of years.
“If he wants to use these games to look at players, and I was to come into that category, then it’s all good. Friendlies or whatever. . . to go and represent your country, it doesn’t matter what level. I was lucky enough to represent it at under-21 level. That was a massive achievement, but to do it for the full side would be brilliant. For every player, it doesn’t matter what age, to represent your country is massive.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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