Callum Davidson admits problems with McDiarmid Park pitch ahead of Celtic visit; Ange Postecoglou's view

By John McGinley

February 3, 2023

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson reckons his side will have to be ready to capitalise on mistakes resulting from a difficult pitch at McDiarmid Park against Celtic on Sunday.

The surface in Perth isn’t in the best of conditions at the moment, something which Davidson has cited as a potential factor in their gameplan against Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys.

In fairness, that’s the case at many grounds across Scotland at the moment, including at Celtic Park.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

St Johnstone preparing for Celtic ‘mistakes’

Davidson said in a pre-match media conference [St Johnstone FC]: “It’s not the easiest of pitches to play on. We need to make sure we are ready for that, ready for any mistakes that can happen. Can we counter on that? Can we cause Celtic problems too?

“I don’t think it is a game we can sit in for 90 minutes, they have too much quality in the final third and they will hurt us. It is getting the right balance between when to go and when to sit in.

“As for the last home game against them we conceded just before half-time but if you can stay in the game long enough you give yourself a chance to get something out of the game.”

Ange Postecoglou’s thoughts on McDiarmid Park challenges

Postecoglou also discussed the potential for pitch problems on Sunday in his own pre-match press conference and says it’s something they’ll take into account.

The Bhoys boss said [Celtic FC]: “We will obviously take it into account. To be fair a lot of the pitches at the moment aren’t in great nick – ours included. That is something we have had to adjust to even in last week’s game with Dundee United with the wind and the pitch.

“It is something we need to adjust to but again but within that context, we still try to maintain our clear focus and that the solution to that challenge lies within the stuff that we do well. I still think that will help us be successful. We don’t want to change our game and we don’t want to change our approach.

“In terms of team selection nothing really changes. We still want to go out there and be a dominant team and work hard defensively and be disciplined in our structures. Maybe we won’t be as fluent in our football but it doesn’t stop us from being threatening. It is just something we need to adjust to.”

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

We just have to see what the conditions are like on Sunday lunchtime. Weather forecasts suggest it won’t be too windy and won’t rain, which is something.

Celtic have been great in overcoming challenges like this in recent months with the pitch at Hampden also messy for our League Cup semi-final.

You’d expect the Bhoys to rise above again.

In other news, Training progress update on Tomoki Iwata and Hyeongyu Oh; when they might start for Celtic.