Callum Davidson sets St Johnstone target after historic win over Rangers
THIS was not just a case of another three points for St Johnstone. It was a historic victory and one which could be the springboard for the season at McDiarmid Park.
Goals from James Brown and Nicky Clark inspired Callum Davidson's side as Rangers were beaten and the Saints climbed to fifth spot in the Premiership standings.
Hibernian and Aberdeen are now within touching distance and matches with St Mirren and Motherwell are to come before the World Cup break.
There was an element of this being a smash and grab win against a Rangers side that dominated in terms of possession but paid the price for their lack of quality at both ends of the park.
But that mattered little to Davidson as he assessed a performance and a result that could inspire St Johnstone heading into the second half of the season.
Davidson said: “In the first half we weren’t good enough with the ball. We were a wee bit nervous and we didn’t keep the ball.
“As a unit we limited their chances though. Then James Brown scores – I haven’t even seen him hit the net in training so that was a surprise!
“He was in the team because he’s a very good one v one defender so to see him get a goal was fantastic.
“In the second half we were better. We showed more composure. That was the most pleasing aspect of the game for me.
“I lost my captain today. There are a few players who have gone down with a sickness bug.
“And Remi Matthews has a slight injury. Elliott Parish performed really well on his first start in the league.
“Now we need to make sure we don’t rest on this victory. We need to go and do well on Wednesday night as well.
“For the fans this is great but for me it’s another three points as we try to climb the league.
“The signs are good but we need to keep our focus. We’re building momentum.
“We’ve got competition for places – in the team and on the bench. It’s a great place to be in.
“We won’t get carried away though. We want to finish this stage of the season really well."
There were plenty of positives for Davidson to take on Sunday. Naturally, the result will be the headline-making and most pleasing one.
But the decision to go with a more attacking midfield paid off for the Perth boss and the partnership of Clark and Stevie May continues to reap rewards.
The finish from Brown was a moment of magic as he rifled a strike beyond Allan McGregor from distance but the decisive second was St Johnstone at their best.
May was the creator with fine work down the left and the finish from Clark was clinical as his movement deceived Borna Barisic before a cool finish secured the points.
It was a third goal of the campaign for the former Ibrox striker and the signs so far this season are promising after Clark was compared to Perth hero Steven MacLean.
Davidson said: “He’s giving us quality and composure. He’s a very clever player.
“He links with his other striker, which has been Stevie most of the time.
“It was fantastic he got a goal because he put in a tremendous shift. Both of our strikers did.
“The two of them worked hard going back the way and in getting us up the pitch.
“Nicky does remind me of Macca. That’s what I’ve been looking for.
“He does a bit of everything – hold it up, win headers and score goals. And he can run – which Macca couldn’t!
“Stevie is bouncing off well next to him but he’s bringing other players into the game as well."