CALLUM DAVIDSON hopes the return of David Wotherspoon can help fire St Johnstone into the group stages of the Uefa Europa Conference League.
Saints take on LASK tonight at a sell-out McDiarmid Park with the tie currently in the balance at 1-1.
Wotherspoon missed last week’s first leg due to coronavirus issues, but Davidson has confirmed that he will be raring to go for tonight’s return fixture.
He explained: “David Wotherspoon has come back in great condition so it’s good news on that front. He’s somebody we miss, especially on the left-hand side with Callum Booth.
“They link up really well. It’s great to have him back. He’s another body in the midfield area. He is probably the one player higher up the field that has that composure and can pick a pass.
“He has trained the last three days and looked strong. Let’s hope he can be a surprise package to them. Whether he starts or is on the bench he will make an impact on the game. Wherever I use him I’m expecting a lot from Spoony.”
Davidson went to hail his goalkeeper Zander Clark who was named in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for the first time on Tuesday.
The 6ft 2in goalie will be part of the Scots squad for World Cup qualifiers against Denmark, Moldova and Austria and Davidson admits it will be a great experience for his number one.
He continued: “It’s testament to how he has played in the last six months. He has been pretty consistent for the last couple of years and I think he has just upped his level in big games.
“Undoubtedly he is a top young goalie. I always laugh when people call him a young goalie. It’s great to see him there. He thoroughly deserves it and he works extremely hard.
“I’ve know him for years, but last season he was a top, consistent goalkeeper who produced in the big games, which is probably the reason he is in the squad.
“I’d probably say his concentration levels in the big games. Sometimes when he has had quiet moments in games he has managed to produce saves. It’s always difficult for goalies if they are not in the thick of the action all the time.
“Last season we had spells where he wasn’t tested and then he was called upon to make one big save and he did it. That, for me, is the biggest thing. His kicking has always been good, but you probably see it a bit more.
“I’m just delighted. He is a modern-day goalie, good with the ball at his feet and he is a big unit. He produces saves at the right time.”
Asked if he was disappointed that more of his squad didn’t make it into Steve Clarke’s plans, Davidson added: “Not really, no. The Scotland squad is pretty good. Players in my team have played well but there are other players in Scotland who are good as well. If you can play consistently at a high level, you will get a call-up.”
St Johnstone dominated large spells against their Austrian opponents last week and ultimately took the lead when Chris Kane finished off a well worked move in the final third.
LASK equalised via a penalty, but Davidson is confident that his team have enough to deliver a special night under the floodlights in Perth.
He said: “For the players, it’s the achievement. For me, it’s more about St Johnstone as a football team, qualifying for group stages and playing all these European games.
“We aren’t a big club by any means. We are one of the provincial clubs and for us to get to the group stage would be huge. It would be a sense of self-achievement in the players, myself and the coaches.
“For the club, it’s different. It’s a huge financial bonus for us, especially in difficult times. Overall, I’d say it is one of the biggest games in the club’s history.”