Callum Davidson exclusive: St Johnstone manager discusses losing Jason Kerr and Ali McCann on 'difficult' transfer deadline day

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson discusses a "really difficult" transfer deadline day in which the club sold two top players Jason Kerr and Ali McCann; watch St Johnstone vs Rangers on Sky Sports Football at 12pm on Saturday, kick-off at 12.30pm

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St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson reflects on a tough transfer deadline day for the club, in which they lost Jason Kerr and Ali McCann

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has described this summer's transfer deadline day as "a real difficult time" as the club lost both Jason Kerr and Ali McCann in last-minute deals.

Defender Kerr, who started his career at the Perth club seven years ago, joined Wigan in a deal worth around £600,000 on August 31.

The 24-year-old captained the Scottish Premiership club to a historic League Cup and Scottish Cup double last season.

Northern Ireland international midfielder McCann, 21, also left McDiarmid Park to join Preston in a £1.2m deal - a figure that could rise above £1.75m with add-ons.

Talking exclusively to Sky Sports, Davidson said deadline day was "a real difficult time. It wasn't easy, it was pretty difficult.

"The good thing about St Johnstone [right now] is that it was probably one of the first times for a while where we've had bids for players and were trying to fend off interest.

St Johnstone captain Jason Kerr lifts the Scottish Cup trophy  after beating Hibernian in the final
Image: St Johnstone captain Jason Kerr lifts the Scottish Cup trophy after they beat Hibernian

"It's all testament to how well the players have played over the last 18 months - that was the good side of it. The bad side was as a club, it's very hard to make right or wrong decisions and you never know if it is the right or wrong decision."

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With their shocking cup wins and impressive performances, it comes as no surprise that St Johnstone's players attracted interest in the window.

Davidson said he was resigned to Kerr's deal as the deadline approached, but the timing of McCann's move was unexpected.

"I was about to go home about 8pm," he said. "I thought: 'Brilliant, we've managed to lose one player.' For me, that was a bonus, we'd also had bids for other players but not anything substantial that was of interest to the club.

"I thought that was it. It was a sore one to lose Jason because he was our leader, he was our captain, so I thought that was a tough one to take.

"I was about to pack my bags but you know in the transfer window, things always change pretty quickly."

Ali McCann St Johnstone
Image: Ali McCann was considered one of the best young players in Scottish football

When asked if St Johnstone got fair value for McCann, who fans have argued was sold too cheaply as one of the bright young prospects in the Scottish Premiership, Davidson said: "Yeah, I think so.

"There weren't any other offers in for Ali. I still believe Ali would go on and play at a higher level - and the fee is irrelevant to me."

Davidson's side have gathered just three points from their first four Scottish Premiership games (three draws, one loss) but they did manage to secure the loan signings of Brighton defender Lars Dendoncker, and St Mirren midfielder Cammy MacPherson, and Ali Crawford from Bolton.

Finland under-21 striker Eetu Vertainen is due to make his debut after officially signing his contract on September 1, and Davidson is now moving on from the transfer window.

He said: "All I think about is my team on Saturday.

"Ali's gone, Jason's gone, I need to now focus on how to get the best team on the pitch on Saturday and performing the way we did for the last six months."

St Johnstone host Rangers in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday at 12.30pm.

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