Serious St Johnstone covid issues “very concerning” for manager Callum Davidson ahead of Hibs Scottish Cup final

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has expressed fears over the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak at his club could have on their quest to make history in the Scottish Cup final a week on Saturday.

St Johnstone's players arrive for the Celtic Park encounter, with all travelling individually by car as a result of covid-issues that denied them the services of eight players for the 4-0 defeat. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The Perth side have given no details over a further outbreak that is believed to have occurred following two positive cases last week that denied him four players for the Scottish Cup semi-final victory over St Mirren. However, Davidson found himself without eight players for the 4-0 defeat at Celtic Park for covid-related issues – this term covering close contacts – and was able to name only five substitutes in a squad that did not feature Zander Clark, Liam Gordon, Ali McCann, Liam Craig, Stevie May, Michael O’Halloran, Murray Davidson and Elliot Parish.

The situation meant the club have not been able to train this week and Davidson said he is “very concerned” about what happens going forward – the Perth club requiring a draw in their final Premiership game at home to Livingston on Saturday to guarantee European qualification.

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“I think the whole world is concerned about covid, so it’s not just me, but it’s not a nice situation to be in,” he said. “We’re doing our best with everybody, we’re not experts on it, so we’re trying to get as much help as we can to make sure we’re all safe. We followed government guidelines and it’s paramount we keep them safe. We’ll get three or four of the players back tomorrow, which is great, and the good news is that they’re all asymptomatic, so they are not suffering at all. We must try to stamp it out and we can’t let it fester until next week.”

Asked if players would be quarantined for the cup final on May 22, Davidson said “not at the moment”. As to whether there had been more positive cases on the Tuesday’s round of testing, he stated that “no, not last night”. He hopes the squad can train before the weekend. “We’ll go over the guidelines with the government and follow their instructions to the letter to make sure we’re prepared. It will probably be socially-distanced training, but it’s important to get the players out on the grass as quickly as possible.”

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