St Johnstone's trying training schedule for Hibs Scottish Cup final laid bare

Callum Davidson is resigned to trying to plot a famous Scottish Cup victory on the back of just two full days of training.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson could welcome back up to three players against Livingston (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The St Johnstone manager hopes to see as many as three players return to the fold this weekend as his team take on Livingston in a fifth place shootout but he has stressed the club remain on “high alert” amid an ongoing Covid-19 issue.

While it seems the situation is relenting slightly, Davidson is wary after two games where he has been denied up to eight players. Full-back Scott Tanser has also been missing through injury.

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Emergency goalkeeper Bobby Zlamal, who has come in from Hearts and played in Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat to Celtic, looks set to make his home debut against Livingston. His loan period is due to end next week with Davidson expecting Elliot Parish, his reserve ‘keeper, to be available from Monday with Zander Clark, the hero in their Scottish Cup quarter-final against Rangers, due to return on Wednesday.

Providing both ‘keepers are passed fit, it would give Davidson one less headache ahead of next weekend’s Scottish Cup final v Hibs.

“We will assess them,” said Davidson. “Bobby’s loan is up the following Thursday so we will have a day to decide what to do.”

St Johnstone will secure European football by finishing fifth so despite the personnel problems, the manager must seek to put out a competitive side at McDiarmid Park against Livingston, when a point will be enough for the hosts.

“We have two or three boys back,” reported Davidson. “They have recovered after their absence, and it is great to have them back in the fold and pushing for a start.

“Everyone tested negative from the latest tests on Wednesday, which is good news. But we aren’t out of the woods yet with the incubation period. We are still on high alert.

“It’s massive to have extra bodies because the lads have played Sunday and Wednesday. They were really tough games and this is an earlier kick-off.”

St Johnstone will continue to follow strict guidelines as soon as the game is finished as they begin what will feel like a very different cup final countdown.

“Negative results came back yesterday so that’s good news,” said Davidson. “Again, it is just making sure we do everything right and then hopefully by Monday we will know exactly what we can or cannot do for the following Saturday.

“Also we will get a few more players back during the week and hopefully they are OK to train. We will assess them and probably have two really good days’ training before the final.

“It’s the best we are going to get so we just have to deal with it and get on with it. The boys are fit anyway, they are fit and healthy, they’ve been fit all season – the ones that have been here.

“It’s just a matter of assessing the ones who have been isolating who have got Covid because their health is really important, not just for the game itself but going forward as well.”

Davidson added that he is delighted to tie-up a new two-year deal with Chris Kane, his current first-choice striker. “I can relax a bit on the attacking front,” he said.

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