CALLUM DAVIDSON breathed a massive sigh of relief as St Johnstone confirmed their Premiership status for next season.
The double Cup winners of 2020/21 were tied on aggregate as they went into a nervy second-half against the battlers of Inverness Caley Thistle in the top-flight play-off second leg at McDiarmid Park last night following Friday’s 2-2 stalemate in the Highlands.
However, four goals in a pulverising 45 minutes made certain the Perth club would extend their 13-year stay among Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, Hearts etc.
Saints boss Davidson, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “It’s been a hard, hard graft since November.
“We struggled, we then brought players in and we fought. Some performances weren’t good, but we got there in the end.
“All credit to everybody involved. This is probably a bigger achievement than winning the Cups. It’s mentally really tough when you’re losing games. Big thanks to my staff, my players and everybody involved.”
Davidson’s side finished the season in eleventh place and faced an in-form Billy Dodds’ side who had already beaten Arbroath in the play-off semi-final.
It was a tense opening 45 minutes, but Stevie May came on after the break and fired the Saints ahead less than a minute later with Cammy MacPherson adding a second soon after.
Callum Henry and Shaun Rooney scored late to wrap up a comprehensive victory as fans celebrated another season in the top flight while Inverness will remain in the second tier.
May had only scored two goals in the previous 18 months, but his close-range finish was as important as any of the 27 goals he claimed in his breakthrough season of 2013-14, which included a winner against Rosenborg and a Scottish Cup semi-final double.
His barrier-breaker was quickly followed by a deflected strike from MacPherson.
Davidson’s men did not let their opponents back into the tussle unlike last week when they blew a two-goal advantage and they rounded off a 6-2 aggregate triumph with strikes from Hendry and Rooney.