St Johnstone are the underdogs - and that suits us just fine, says Callum Davidson

That Callum Davidson has already beaten David Martindale's Livingston side with the odds stacked against him, as well as leading St Johnstone to an unlikely and comprehensive victory at Hampden against Hibs should stand the rookie boss in good stead going into today’s Betfred Cup final.
St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson is hoping to get his hands on a different cup this afternoonSt Johnstone boss Callum Davidson is hoping to get his hands on a different cup this afternoon
St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson is hoping to get his hands on a different cup this afternoon

“I think it suits a club like St Johnstone to be the underdog,” he said in the lead-up to his first cup final as a manager in his own right.

"We’re the underdog most of the time anyway. I prefer to play down expectations."

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During his time as Saints assistant the club won the Scottish Cup in 2014, beating a Dundee United side that had eliminated Rangers in the semi-finals and finished five points above them in the league table. Perhaps the lack of expectation has served the McDiarmid Park side well as they gear up to take on the West Lothian outfit at the national stadium.

“I have been seven years as an assistant manager so have plenty of experience behind me. You just have to try to enjoy it," Davidson explained.

“I always hoped I would do something special for St Johnstone and hopefully that can happen this weekend.”

Livingston are a formidable opponent, even without a win in their last three Scottish Premiership matches. The Lions are just eight points behind Aberdeen in fourth, with a game in hand.

Are the 2004 winners the favourites going into today's final?

“Livingston probably shade it because of their league form," Davidson reasoned.

“It’s tremendous what David has done; he’s taken them from the foot of the table into the top six. You can only applaud what they have done and what he has done."

Martindale is a unique quantity in the Scottish top flight, being the only manager to have never played at a professional level.

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"You have to be impressed by what he’s done in the last few months. I don’t know how difficult it is when you don’t have a playing background,” Davidson added.

“He’s got good people behind him and I know from hearing him on the sidelines the work ethic he’s got.

“The Livingston players have belief in him, they have really bought into what he’s asked them to do. My job is to get my players to perform to the level we need to be at.”

By now, Davidson will have decided on his team selection but he revealed earlier in the week that he had some tough calls to make and, as a former player himself, understood how gut-wrenching it was for those who wouldn’t get the nod.

"You just have to be as honest as you can with the players. It’s part and parcel of the game. Hopefully those who don't make the starting XI can come on from the bench and play their part.

"In my own career it was injuries that put me out of the team, more often than not. I had it a few times with Scotland though; when you saw the team shaping up early in the week and realised you wouldn't be involved.

"But there’s nothing you can do about it other than work harder and try to get back in for the next game. You just have to get on with it. You win some and you lose some.”

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