Callum Hendry can help bring St Johnstone to safety, insists Callum Davidson

CALLUM HENDRY returned to McDiarmid Park on Monday morning facing a totally different challenge to what he has been used to so far this season.

Since September, the striker – son of Scottish legend Colin Hendry – had been tasked with sacking Kilmarnock for promotion to the Premiership after being relegated last season.

The 24-year-old scored five goals in 15 appearances for the Rugby Park side during his loan spell at Ayrshire.

Goals have been a problem for St Johnstone all season – managing just 11 in the league so far.

And that’s exactly why boss Callum Davidson decided to recall Hendry.

So the hitman went from being the main man in a promotion bid to being a key part of trying to help the Saints survive in Scotland’s top flight.

Davidson is happy to have Hendry back in his squad, admitting he is delighted to see the impact the striker can have on his side.

He said, “He played games. The transfer window is really tough in terms of recruiting players, but he’s played some games at the top of the league and it would be foolish of me not to bring him back.

“The reason he went out was to play games and now he can come back and prove what he can do – show St Johnstone in the Premiership what he can do.

“We have to score goals, the system we play suits him so I think he will be a key addition. He can continue on small streaks, Callum. So hopefully we can get the most out of him in the coming weeks.

“We’ll have John Mahon (for Wednesday) and we’ll hopefully have Cammy MacPherson back, I think the deal is close to being done. He’s a great player.

“Mahon is probably a bit short in match form.

“He looks strong and really aggressive – I knew that was what I was going to get. He has older school qualities – competing for every ball and putting his body on the line.

“It was a tough training session on purpose today – really for John so we could see where he was at. We had a good 10v10 game.

“Like the rest of the boys who have arrived, the sooner I can get him up to speed the better.

“O’Halloran will be out on Wednesday, he did his hamstrings. It was just before the goal and was one of the reasons the guy was free at the back because he had made his shot from the corner.

The goal Davidson was referring to was the Kelty Hearts goal that beat Saints in the Scottish Cup at the weekend.

Kallum Higginbotham scored the game’s only goal in extra time as the League Two leaders humiliated last season’s two-time cup winners.

The embarrassing loss certainly angered Davidson, as he conceded on Saturday night that his job was on the line.

Footage emerged of some heated exchanges between traveling Saints fans and full-time players, with Davidson and his team having to walk among their supporters in order to reach the locker room on the ground.

And while the Saints gaffer wasn’t surprised to hear the intense backlash from the sidelines, he admits coming close to them after a humiliating loss was a first for him.

He said, “We also have to give them something. You have to give them a tempo and energy.

“The whole time I’ve been here, as long as the fans know you’re doing your best and giving your all, they’ll always support you.

“They stayed behind us on Saturday and it’s important that they start again on Wednesday. I’m sure they will. They can certainly help us achieve victory.

“I wasn’t surprised at the reaction if I’m being honest. I have already been there several times as a player.

“The setup wasn’t ideal – the players had to walk through supporters. I’m just glad nothing serious happened.

“The emotions were all running high. I was very frustrated and annoyed myself.

“The players were overexcited and the supporters overexcited.

“You will receive criticism. You have to accept it and be strong. If that’s the worst thing that happens to you in a football game, you’d accept it.

“You have to use it and move on and say, ‘come on, I’m going to be better and make sure they cheer me on next time’.

“They have to give everything they can as a player and a person. As disappointing as Saturday was, now it’s about what we do moving forward. That’s the mindset which I adopted.