Ali McCann eager to carry on feel-good factor from last season’s cup heroics

It went down as the most successful season in the club’s history.

But Ali McCann is hoping St Johnstone can continue the Perth feel-good factor as the return of competitive football nears.

Cup double winners Saints are preparing for a July 31 Premiership start and have now been back in training for more than a week.

McCann’s break was a shorter one than the majority of his team-mates due to starring for Northern Ireland in friendly matches against Malta and Ukraine earlier in the summer.

The 21-year-old’s performances at McDiarmid Park and on the international front have caught the eye of a growing list of clubs. Sunderland are the latest to be showing an interest in the ever-improving central midfielder.

McCann, speaking last week, was keeping his feet on the ground as Saints boss Callum Davidson put players through their pre-season paces.

“A wee bit of time off was much needed after a long season,” McCann said.

“The lads are all buzzing to be back in, it’s good to see everyone and get back into the swing of it.

“I’ll carry on what I’ve been doing. Hopefully I can make my game a bit better, add wee things here and there.

“Hopefully we can carry on where we left off. I know it will be a big ask to replicate last season or even better it.

“But we can finish higher in the league and that is what we will be going for. If we can get some more cup runs, that would be unbelievable.

“We’ll go in full of confidence after how we finished last season and hopefully we can kick on.”

There is, of course, also European football to look forward to with excitement building for a Europa League third qualifying round test on August 5/12. The draw will take place on July 19.

“You see around the place [McDiarmid Park] about the European ties in the past,” McCann added. “They looked brilliant.

“Hopefully if we can put in good performances we could play against some of the best teams in Europe. It’s just exciting to be part of.”

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