Nov 6 2012 by Eddie Murphy, Perthshire Advertiser
Callum Davidson makes his long-awaited comeback tonight after missing 10 SPL and League Cup games.
The St Johnstone full-back’s last first team start was back on August 25 in a defeat from Hibs at Easter Road.
But after being troubled by a combination of leg muscle and back pain, he’s now ready to stake a claim for a return to the fray for Sunday’s daunting trip to face Celtic in Glasgow.
The 36-year-old defender’s experience has been harnessed helping coach the younger Perth players but he’s eager to pull on a strip again.
Yesterday, Perth assistant Tommy Wright said: “Callum has been missing for a while now and I know he is disappointed not to be playing. The temptation on our part was to throw him in and risk a setback.
“But we feel he is ready now and we’ll see how he shapes up against Hibs. Hopefully he will come through it okay and we can think about Callum for the visit to Celtic Park. That would be a plus for us but I don’t expect any of the other injured players to be ready for this one.”
Saints’ seven game unbeaten run in the SPL ended with a disappointing 3-1 home defeat from Motherwell at the weekend and now they are counting down to a return trip to a venue where they crashed 5-0 to Celtic in the Scottish Communities League Cup last week.
Wright admitted that midfielder David Robertson was pressing his claim for a starting place, after bagging goals against Inverness and Motherwell.
He said: “I’m now getting texts signed off ‘two goal Dave.’ I think he’s trying to make a point.
“Robbo hasn’t had the best of luck since coming here from Dundee United. But we see enough of him in training to know he is a good player.
“He came on at Inverness and scored late to earn a point and he might have scored against Celtic in the cup game. It was good for his confidence getting another one after coming off the bench against Motherwell. He is providing a goal threat.”
The Perth players were licking their wounds yesterday after leaking eight goals in two games, hard on the heels of an impressive sequence hallmarked by defensive solidity.
Post-match, Steve Lomas branded the defending “criminal” and Wright admitted: “Conceding the early goal was poor because Motherwell had been on a run of games without scoring. That gave them a huge lift.
“They went on to play very well and Jamie Murphy caused us problems all afternoon.
“But we have to look at ourselves. To the lads’ credit they accept the defending wasn’t up to the standards they set during the unbeaten run. Following on from the defeat against Celtic that is a concern. We were beaten far too easily in both games.
“Looking at the positives, we still created chances. But our good run was based on sound defending and taking chances. That is what we have to get back to.
“It’s been a difficult time in terms of injuries but the lads have coped well. It is tough for any team facing up to injuries. On the plus side you may have continuity but there is little leeway for freshening things up. It’s about trying for the right balance. We have to be happy with where we are in the league but it is still very tight.
“Hopefully we will be in better shape injury-wise this time next week. Peter Pawlett should resume training by the end of the week along with Patrick Cregg. But Craig Beattie and Jamie Adams still have a bit to go. Both have taken injections and hopefully that will spur their recovery but there is still no definite time frame.”