Callum Davidson went off for a belated Betfred Cup final celebration after St Johnstone’s 1-0 Scottish Premiership win over Hibernian kept top-six hopes alive.
Saints won the cup for the first time with a 1-0 victory over Livingston at Hampden Park last Sunday but boss Davidson immediately turned his attention to preparing for the 1-1 draw against Hamilton in midweek.
However, after Liam Craig’s curling strike in the 16th minute moved the Perth side to within two points of sixth-placed St Mirren with one game to go before the split – and with no match until March 20 – boss Davidson revealed his plans.
He said: “It has been a huge six days. Football-wise, it is probably the worst game we have played this season but character-wise probably the biggest.
“They knew they had to get three points today to give ourselves a chance to get to the top six and the way they went about it – and the substitutes who came on as well put in a shift – I am delighted with it.
“The players can be proud of their week, it has been a huge week for the club.
“I am going to go home and celebrate the cup victory tonight.
“I should have done it on Sunday, so I will go and enjoy that. Me and my staff never had a drink. I will enjoy that and the players will get a few days off.
“We had a lot of players who played today who are struggling with injuries and have gone through the pain barrier for three points and that is really pleasing. They want to play and are desperate to play.”
Hibs manager Jack Ross was unhappy to be booked in added time by referee David Dickinson for venting his frustration after a challenge on Hibs substitute Christian Doidge went unpunished.
He said: “If I deserved to get booked I deserved to get booked but what I will say, in an empty stadium I hear both sets of players, my players included, say a lot worse to referees regularly through a game, not on one occasion.
“But managers I am guessing must be held accountable to a higher standard or lesser leeway in terms of what they can say.
“When you get to injury time and are frustrated by the non-award of an obvious free-kick at the edge of the box, maybe referees can understand you as a manager being a little frustrated.
“I got a couple of explanations, one out on the pitch that he didn’t think it was a foul and then inside that he was playing the advantage so he might have decided by now what one it was.
“I’m really frustrated not to take something from the game. I think we were the better team.
“I don’t think there was a lot in the game the first half, in the second half we were excellent.
“We dominated a good side in their own stadium so it is a day of frustration in terms of not taking at least a point.”