CALLUM Booth hailed St Johnstone’s mighty European shift against Galatasaray as incredible.
But he’s wasting no time in turning his focus to the next hurdle in the Perth side’s continental calendar; a European Conference League play-off against LASK.
Callum Davidson’s side impressed in the glamour Europa League qualifier against Turkish giants Galatasaray but fell to a 4-2 defeat at McDiarmid Park crashing out 5-3 on aggregate.
And Booth insists running a top team in Europe so close means the squad are full of belief as they aim for a group stage spot in the ECL.
“It was an incredible performance over the two legs, to run a team like that so close”, Booth said.
“We were right in it for a game and a half, which is an incredible effort when you look at how much quality they have.
“I think I saw their wage bill is more than fifty times ours, so that shows just what we were up against.
“They have players like Falcao who wasn’t even in the squad, some incredible talent.
“But we went toe-to-toe with them for a long time and proved how good a team we are.
“We have the belief in this squad and it’s on to next week now.
“It’s going to be just as hard when you look at some of the results LASK have had in the last few years.
“They have been in the Europa League group stages and have beaten some big clubs, so we will have to work just as hard as we did against Galatasaray.
“You always learn playing against top players, so if we can improve off the back of it and get another full house then we’d love that.
“The crowd were amazing, we got a huge boost from coming out to see that and hopefully it’s the same for the next game.”
It’s fair to say not many teams competing in the Europa Conference League will have a huge amount of data on St Johnstone, but after such a strong showing Booth expects LASK will have no complacency ahead of their two-legged play-off.
And the full-back is under no illusions that the Austrian challengers will be a similarly tough task.
“I don’t think there’s much chance of LASK underestimating us now”, he added.
“Maybe that’s what happened with Galatasaray in the first leg but I’m sure they will look at our performance over there and won’t think it’s going to be easy.
“To go out 5-3 to a club of Galatasaray’s stature will show them we have something about us.
“It’s going to be just as difficult over in Austria because although they are not a well-known name like Galatasaray are, they’re top of their league and have been in the Europa League for the last few years.
“They will be a very strong team so it’s going to be another really difficult one.”
While the superb European showing has brought huge benefits to the club, Booth is just hopeful Ali McCann’s stellar performances won’t see him leave Perth this summer.
The Northern Ireland midfielder looked at home on the European stage and was integral to all things positive in both legs.
Admitting it could be difficult to keep hold of McCann, Booth said: “Ali was unbelievable over the two legs.
“He’s got another two years on his contract so hopefully we can keep a hold of him, but it’s going to be tricky.
“Against some top, top players he’s been right in their faces, good on the ball and just produced all-round great performances.
“He’s a great player and a great guy. He’s the best young player I’ve played with.”