Callum Davidson: Double cup win did not raise St Johnstone’s profile in Europe

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson is relishing the clash with Galatasaray (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)
22:30pm, Wed 04 Aug 2021
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Callum Davidson admits St Johnstone’s domestic cup double will not have “made a dent” in Europe but hopes his side can capitalise on any Galatasaray complacency.

Saints stunned Scottish football by winning both the League Cup and Scottish Cup last season, only the second and third major trophy wins in the Perth club’s history.

St Johnstone are in Turkey for the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie against Galatasaray on Thursday.

Asked if the remarkable cup triumphs would have raised the club’s profile in Europe, manager Davidson, who hopes to soon confirm the signing of 22-year-old Finnish striker Eetu Vertainen from Ilves, said: “Probably not. Unfortunately no.

“I think it probably raised the profile more so in this country. I don’t think it would have made a dent in Europe at all.

“Hopefully they kind of underestimate us a little bit and don’t think too much of us, that is the best way to go in, as underdogs.

“We are underdogs really, so we have nothing to lose. We just have to go out and perform. This is part of the rewards for last season.

“It was part of our goal when we played in the Scottish Cup to try and win and get into Europe.

“So we are into the latter stages (of qualifiers) and you know you are not going to get easy teams.

“It is quite a tough start but we are looking forward to it and all the players are buzzing and raring to go.”

This will be Davidson’s first European tie as St Johnstone manager but the excitement of the former Saints defender and assistant boss is tempered by Covid-19 restrictions.

He said: “The issues and restrictions I have to deal with due to Covid, if it wasn’t for that I would be really looking forward to it.

“It is a challenge, a new experience for me as a manager. I have never taken a team into Europe.

“I did enjoy my time under Tommy (Wright) when we played in Europe and I played in Europe as well.

“It is a different culture. I just want us to perform at a good level and give a good account of ourselves.

“It is a great experience for these guys to play against a team like Galatasaray. You want to put on a good show, perform well and see what happens.”

On Vertainen, Davidson said: “With Eetu it is a slightly longer process with visas etc.

“People are working behind the scenes very hard to get him in as soon as we can, hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed we can hopefully get him in for the next leg.”

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