St Johnstone stay grounded and prepare for 'different' Rangers

A trip to Ibrox is the ultimate in arduous assignments for any Scottish club right now.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson suggests a League Cup final win over Livngston represents a more laudable achievement than even ending a 14-month domestic winning run at Ibrox for Rangers would be. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group) **Free for first use

That is what faces his St Johnstone team in Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final. Yet Callum Davidson refuses to consider that overcoming a title-winning Rangers on a 19-game domestic winning streak in their own environs would represent the most laudable single performance of his first season in management, even if he has already stashed away a trophy, won against Livingston.

“I wouldn’t say that. I would say winning the League Cup no matter what,” he said. “People asked me what it was like to reach the League Cup final and I said it is only good if we win it. If we beat Rangers on Sunday and then get knocked out in the semi-final it won’t be that big a game. I want to win the tournament. No matter what game you play they are all tough.”

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Davidson also rejects the notion that he has made it more difficult for his team at Ibrox by effectively showing his hand in the two clubs’ 1-1 draw at Perth in midweek. While he fielded a team that seemed to approximate his best XI – doing so because his team are still chasing a Premiership fifth place that could bring a European football – Steven Gerrard ran with a line-up that only included five players likely to start the quarter-final.

“I wouldn’t say I played my strongest team,” Davidson said. “When you look at the Motherwell game before the cup final I made three or four changes for the final. I am always willing to make changes and I believe in the 17 or 18 outfield players and the goalkeepers. I believe in whatever team I pick or choose. I try and pick a team that will win the game.

“I know Rangers will probably play slightly differently on Sunday. They played a different formation against us on Wednesday. I don’t know but I imagine he will bring two or three players back in that will suit a different formation. We will look at that. I want to win the game, but I have the possibility of making a couple of changes too.”

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