St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson believes Saturday’s match at Aberdeen represents a showdown between two clubs whose starts to the domestic season have been negatively impacted by their European adventures.
Saints played four high-intensity Europa and Conference League qualifiers in August and have failed to win any of their five cinch Premiership fixtures so far.
The Dons had to fit in six games in continental competition between late July and the end of August and after winning their first two Premiership games, they have failed to triumph in any of their last four in the league or the Premier Sports Cup. In all competitions, Stephen Glass’s side are without a win in six.
Davidson said: “I think probably similar to us, Aberdeen had the European games and that can have a big effect on your league performance.
“I’m not making excuses but the European games were a big distraction for us in August. It’s hard enough for the bigger clubs to compete Thursday-Sunday, Thursday-Sunday, so for a smaller team like St Johnstone it was pretty difficult and some of our players weren’t used to it.
“I always used to think when I was playing in England that when you played a team who were in Europe during the week you had a little chance of beating them on the Saturday or Sunday.
“Even at that level it’s difficult for the big clubs to do it so for teams like ourselves to play in Europe, it’s really tough. Fatigue levels and travelling take a toll.
“With the European games and then players being away on international duty, this has been the first week since the middle of July where we’ve had a full week of training.”
Davidson is braced for another tough test at Pittodrie as his side go in search of their first league win.
He said: “Aberdeen have managed to recruit some big players. We’re going up to try and win the game but their supporters demand results so the pressure’s probably on them a bit more than it is on us. We’ll go there and try our best to get a result.
“We’ve got a real tough run of fixtures at the minute. We’ve had Rangers and now we’ve got Aberdeen and Hibs coming up. It’s really difficult. I can tell from the way they’ve been in training that the players are desperate to win though. As long as that’s still the case, I’m happy.”