CALLUM DAVIDSON has admitted his disappointment at not being able to share his first competitive match as St Johnstone manager with fans in attendance.

Saints are set to take on Dundee United at Tannadice on Saturday, which in normal circumstances would have attracted a healthy crowd.

But with all games being played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, Davidson faces the task of motivating his players without the help of a vocal away following in Dundee this weekend.

He said: “It will be disappointing playing Dundee United when we don’t have a crowd because there is always a great atmosphere between the two teams. St Johnstone always bring a great support there.

“It’s one of the fixtures as a St Johnstone player, coach and manager I look forward to. It will be hard to replicate it. I think the game may change slightly.

“There is not going to be much of an advantage with home or away games. They will be pretty much the same. It will be difficult to replicate that intensity. When we do it, we must do it at the right tempo.

“With having the first league game of the season on Saturday there is an extra buzz about the place. The decibel levels have increased so you can tell the real stuff is getting near.

"The boys have waited so long for it and they can’t wait to get going. I am happy with the dressing-room, they’re not quiet but we don’t have too many lairy ones!

“Liam Craig is probably the lairy one and the rest of them all speak, they are a good squad for that. You want that, I’d always encourage them to be vocal, you want to hear their voices.”

The McDiarmid Park side will be operating with a relatively small squad this term after releasing 10 players over the summer and adding just four.

Despite the reduced numbers, Davidson is content with the quality he has at his disposal.

He added: “We have a few wee niggles here and there, it has been a tough few weeks but hopefully by Friday we will have a full squad. 

“The time the players have had out meant you were always going to get niggles when they came back. So with having a small squad it’s been about getting the right amount of work into them.

“I am happy with where we are just now. With having a squad the size it is and so many games, it’s a difficult one because you have to be mindful and tailor training. 

“You have to get the training right because I’d never ask a player to not go full pelt. I never did that as a player and I’d never ask someone to go easy. 

“You have to make it hard enough to get the sharpness and intensity - but you also need a bit of luck. That will come from avoiding contact injuries as the season progresses. 

“Hopefully I’ll get at least one more player in to add a bit of strength and depth in certain areas.”