ST JOHNSTONE will welcome fans to McDiarmid Park for the first time since March last year as the Perth club face off against Preston North End in a pre-season friendly. 

The match is sure to be an emotional reunion after Callum Davidson’s team historically landed a cup double last term without any aid from supporters throughout the entire campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Just 1,000 lucky Perth spectators will be allowed inside the stadium and Saints striker Stevie May can’t wait to feel their affection after the greatest year in the club’s history. 

He said: “It has been a long time coming. It’s exciting for fans and players. Some of the fans weren’t able to get to this one but hopefully in the next few weeks we can get them in as well. 

“It will be good for the fans to see a lot of the players they have never actually watched play before. That is crazy to think about after the successful season we had. It is just the world we have been living in. 

“Hopefully we can get back to some sort of normality now. The Preston game is one we are all looking forward to. 

“We could never have imagined at the start of last season to have that success. It’s a credit to the boys. I think a lot won’t even realise how much it means to so many people.” 

Davidson’s Perth outfit are preparing for European football this summer as they enter the Europa League in the third round of qualifying. 

PSV Eindhoven, Galatasaray, Rapid Vienna or Sparta Prague await, and May is excited for the competitive action which will begin next month. 

He continued: “After the success, hopefully there are a few more fans willing to come along and the club will reap the rewards. We are right into some big games at the start of the season. It’s exciting times for players and fans alike. 

"We need to do all we can to win every game and try to improve as a team and as players. I think we can do that. I don’t think we can go into it trying to top last season.  

“We will have a real go at the European games and see how the cards lie after that. It would be ideal to get the fans in for these games. A lot of the biggest games and best atmospheres at this club have been in European ties.  

“It’s something the fans really appreciate and get up for.” 

Former Aberdeen and Sheffield Wednesday man, May, also revealed that he changed his shirt number for the season from 14 to 7. 

Explaining the decision, he said: “With Craig Conway leaving it was available and I can't see the number nine or ten coming up any time soon. Seven is a number I like and I had it once before in my career.  

“But I have changed numbers quite a bit over the years. I’m not superstitious about keeping the same number. It worked well on Saturday. Hopefully it works for me every week.” 

May netted a hattrick in St Johnstone’s opening game of pre-season at Stenhousemuir on Saturday and he now hopes to build on that ahead of the new season. 

The 28-year-old recently became a dad to son Axel and he admits there is now an added motivation to find the back of the net on a regular basis. 

He added: “He is just 10 months old so he has had a successful time as a St Johnstone fan! We will get him into games when we can.  

“It would have been good to have our kids in for the final but safety came first. It went well. I don’t know if he watched the game but the tv was certainly on.  

“I managed to get some photos of Axel with the trophies over the summer. That was a nice little keepsake. We will appreciate it even more one day looking back on last season.”