St Johnstone’s Covid-19 problems have not deteriorated but manager Callum Davidson admits his cup final selection is up in the air and he still fears more setbacks.
Saints were struck by two positive cases on May 3 and two further players were ordered into self-isolation before their semi-final win against St Mirren.
They were without a further four first-team players for Wednesday’s defeat by Celtic along with Scott Tanser, who is rated 50-50 for the May 22 Scottish Cup final against Hibernian because of an ankle injury.
Davidson has some players back ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership fifth-placed decider against Livingston but the best-case scenario is he gets his full squad available in the middle of their cup final preparations.
“We have been testing quite thoroughly this week and in our last round everyone came back negative, which is great news,” Davidson said.
“We have been very, very strict on the guidelines of people coming in and out of the club.
“We have made sure the training is as distanced as possible. The players have spent hardly any time indoors.
“It doesn’t mean we are out of the woods, it’s important we carry it on this weekend and into the next week. With the incubation period, we have to be really careful.
“We have three or four boys back training so that’s positive. And the good thing about the lads that are out, they are all feeling great. They are all sitting in the house bored but they are all feeling great.
“I think they can run up and down their stairs. I’m expecting a couple of 5km runs round their living room.
“If any come down with any real symptoms then we have really got to watch and be careful and make sure they are OK.”
Davidson added: “I probably won’t get my full squad back until the middle or the end of next week.
“It’s a real difficult one, because if you asked me two weeks ago if I had my team in my head for the final, I would have probably said yes. Ask me now, it’s totally different.
“I will need to assess all the players and how they come through it, how they train, how they are looking.
“It will be a tough one next week but we will have enough time to plan. I just hope everyone tests negative on Monday and then we can look forward to the game.”
When asked if he was more optimistic about the situation, Davidson said: “Not yet. If we get through the next round of testing I will either relax or crawl into a corner.
“It’s probably been the toughest time in my career because it’s not just about yourself, it’s about a whole group of people and a knock-on effect to their families.
“It’s a very difficult thing to deal with and we are trying our best to make sure we are all safe.
“I said to my wife, ‘surely I should be enjoying this time of the season’? We have huge games coming up and I seem to have thumping headaches thinking about things.”
The first big game is the visit of Livingston, with a draw enough to seal guaranteed European football.
“It’s an easy one, a draw or a win will assure us fifth, so the boys are up for it,” Davidson said.
Meanwhile, striker Chris Kane has signed a new two-year deal.
“I’m delighted, Chris has been fantastic this season,” Davidson said. “It has probably been his best season.
“It’s been a tough negotiation but it shows how much he wants to be here.”