Covid issues have left St Johnstone's Callum Davidson struggling over Hibs Scottish Cup final selection

As a club that don’t feature among the country’s top 10 judged by size or silverware success, St Johnstone are within a Scottish Cup final win of completing a cup double unparalleled in the 74 years of two national knock-out competitions.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has hardly had a full squad to train in recent weeks because of various covid issues. (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)

It seems a desperate pity, then, that covid-related issues have essentially left Callum Davidson with two days to sort out his selection for the trip to Hampden.

The ebullience of the Perth side’s manager has undoubtedly been strained as a result of the disruption caused by a spate of positive tests, and attendant isolation periods for other close contacts, that have variously impacted on nine players.

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The full squad trained on Wedneday - a first in almost three weeks - with the next day a recovery session. They will train again today and only then will Davidson feel in position to assess the readiness of certain individuals who have had almost two weeks either sitting in their homes recovering from the virus, or required to take that course of action because certain team-mates contracted the virus.

“If you asked me three weeks ago I probably had 10 of my first XI picked in my head for the final. But now I won’t know until Friday afternoon once I’ve watched them train in the morning,” Davidson said. “That’s just the way it is unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s more the physical side with the players not having trained too much. So it’s going to take a monumental effort. Yes [I have concern about certain players] but I am not going to tell you who it is...

“It’s the unknown part of it, none of us are experienced in this because we haven’t faced it before. I haven’t had to deal with it as a manager or a player before, so it’s new ground. It’s difficult and unusual, so I will just have to speak to them all individually and see where they are in their heads. They are all desperate to play so it will be down to me making the right decisions and not just on them telling me they are 100%. I need to make sure they are alright and ready to go. We haven’t trained much in the last three weeks, we have just had them turning up to play the games.

“It’s totally different to the Betfred Cup final [won against Livingston in February] because of the covid problems, which have been well documented. Now it’s a case of waiting to see how they are after their isolation and the covid. We hope we get some good results back and we are all clear to go for Saturday. We tested at the start of the week and everyone was clear, so we tested again on Wednesday and are waiting for the results back. They are all at different stages, that’s where we are with it. But I know the players are up for it, the staff are up for it and the whole of Perth is up for it. I hope that can get us through. There will be no lack of effort in trying to win the cup.”

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