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Callum Davidson: 'St Johnstone will have to fight to keep players'

Callum Davidson: 'St Johnstone will have to fight to keep players'
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The McDiarmid Park men have already lifted the Betfred Cup and made it into the top six this season.

Callum Davidson admits he has got a battle on his hands to keep St Johnstone's band of shock troops together.

The McDiarmid Park men have already lifted the Betfred Cup and made it into the top six this season.

Now they are looking to double up on that achievement by winning the Scottish Cup and booking a place in Europe.

That would cap off a dream first season in charge for the former Scotland defender – but Davidson is already worrying about next season as he fears rival clubs swooping in to poach away his key men.

Asked if Saints' exploits in both cups could help attract new stars, the concerned Perth boss said: "Probably the opposite. Teams will probably be in looking to take my players.

"I think it's a difficult one. There's a lot of positivity coming out of the club.

"The players are enjoying themselves being quite successful, so it's something to build on.

"On the cover side, you've got players who are playing really well and will get rewarded for it, quite rightly so.

"My battle is to balance it off and make sure I keep the majority of the squad, keep the nucleus of the spirit and then add a few more who can bring a little bit of quality to the team.

"Then hopefully we can stay in the position we're in and keep trying to move forward."

And Davidson says the club are working hard to tie down the rest of their big names after dealing in Stevie May, Liam Craig, David Wotherspoon and Callum Booth in recent weeks.

"It's been great to get Callum and Stevie signed this week," he said. "It's a massive commitment from Stevie with the two-year deal, so I'm delighted.

"We've also got Liam signed as well, so I think we're getting there. We're working hard on that front.

"It has taken some time but we are trying to get there and speak to all the players. It's an ongoing process but hopefully we can have some more good news with players signing in the near future."

Saints stunned Rangers in last Sunday's quarter-final thriller at Ibrox but they will have to put their return to Hampden to face St Mirren a week on Sunday on the back-burner ahead of this weekend's Hibernian trip.

And Davidson has no concerns his players will have their minds in Mount Florida when they run out at Easter Road to face their fellow cup semi-finalists on Premiership duty.

"I don't think the players will have any issue with that," he said. "The players know where they want to go. They might have thought 'that's enough for us this season' and took a rest once we got to the top six.

"But you saw them playing against Rangers on Wednesday and again on Sunday and everyone could see their attitude.

"So I've got no concerns about that going forward. We'll take each game as they come, try to win them. If we do, great, if we don't it will be through no lack of effort.

"Hibs will be a really tough game on Saturday. They have a lot of players with quality and that is proved by the league position they're in.

"They'll have one eye on next week's semi-final – just like us – so it will be hard to guess what team Jack Ross will put out. It will be an interesting game."

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Hibernian manager Jack Ross pictured in October 2020
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