Match Preview - St Johnstone (A)
We are back on the road for another match in the Scottish Premiership, with St Johnstone being the opposition this time round. It’s 3:00PM kick off in Perth, at McDairmid Park.
St Johnstone changed their manager last week, after Steven Maclean was shown the door after not being able to pick up a win in the league.
Craig Levein is the man in charge of the Perth club now, and he has called upon former Brechin City boss Andy Kirk to be his assistant in the dugout.
His first match in charge was midweek against Stuart Kettlewell’s Motherwell. The Saints went two goals up early in the match courtesy of goals from Nicky Clark and Andy Considine. However, they were unable to hold on to their lead and Motherwell clawed back two goals to rescue a point.
That is certainly a positive start to the former Scotland boss’ tenure – and it needed to be.
St Johnstone currently sit at the foot of the table, with just one win to their name – beating Kilmarnock on home turf whilst they were managerless.
Saints have struggled on the goal front largely this season. In 11 matches, they have only managed to find the back of the net seven times. That leaves them with the worst overall goal difference in the league, which I'm sure will be one of the main areas former Hearts gaffer Levein is looking to turn around.
Player to Watch
Despite not playing a lot of football this season, former Rangers man Nicky Clark has been an imperative figure for St Johnstone over the past couple of seasons.
He again showed he is still a quality player, scoring against Motherwell during the week. He has played three matches for the Saints this season and has scored in all three.
The 32-year-old is a dangerous player, with his clever finishing being capable of causing trouble for any teams back line.
Clark, who signed from Dundee United, isn't just a one trick pony however, with his link up play being deceivingly useful. He is certainly a player that our Staggies backline should keep an eye on.
The Staggies put in an incredible shift with ten men against Celtic, but unfortunately weren’t able to take anything out of the match.
That was always going to be a difficult match – however form prior to that one should certainly encourage the County supporters.
There have been plenty goals for us in recent matches, scoring three against Motherwell and clawing back two goals in Edinburgh to draw with Hibs.
All four of our strikers have been heavily involved this season – and all are hitting form. Simon Murray and Eamonn Brophy both scored at Fir Park, whilst Jordan White netted in Edinburgh. Alex Samuel is yet to get on the scoresheet, but his tenacious style of play has allowed him to turn provider for his teammates.
There should be a degree of confidence headed into this match considering past performances, and getting back to winning ways would be fantastic for us not only in terms of league position but overall confidence too.
Player to Watch
Our scouse superstar Connor Randall has been transformed into a central midfielder by Malky Mackay this season, and the County support have loved his involvement in the middle of the park.
However, with James Brown picking up a red card last weekend, a move to his natural position could be on the cards for the former Liverpool man.
Randall has been a constant in the team since he joined with his exemplar displays gaining the trust of all the managers he has worked under here.
Moving back to right back wont phase Randall, in fact it may even provide more defensive stability for us, whilst opening an opportunity in midfield for one of players to grab and make a statement.
Malky Mackay Press Conference
Connor Randall Press Conference
Our matches against St Johnstone are often closely contested, as the past few seasons have shown.
We have already tasted victory over the Perth side this season, defeating them 2-0 on the second match of the season. Kyle Turner opened the scoring and Connor Randall added a second with a stunning strike.
In the last meeting between the side last season, there were six goals to be had. Jack Baldwin scored a rocket in the 90th minute, but Saints came back five minutes into stoppage time and claimed a point.
Regan Charles-Cook netted a double against St Johnstone in a home tie in Malky Mackay’s first season in charge. Joe Hungbo added to the scoring with a stunning volley that day to claim a big 3-1 win for the Staggies.
Former club captain Keith Watson also spent time at St Johnstone, whilst current player Ross Callachan has also worn the blue of the Saints.
League Cup winners Brian Graham and Richard Foster have played for both sides, as well as Staggie hero Paul Lawson.
Referee: Nick Walsh
AR1: Calum Spence
AR2: David Dunne
FO: Ross Hardie
VAR: Euan Anderson
AVAR: John McCrossan
Josh Reid is back training and edging closer to a return.
Ben Paton and Ross Callachan remain out.
Josh Sims and Jay Henderson are both recovering from setbacks.
James Brown is suspended for this match.
Tickets can be purchased from the following link: Travelling support | St Johnstone Football Club (perthstjohnstonefc.co.uk)
Our supporters will be located in the main stand. Prices are as follows.
CONCESSION >65 / U20
FAMILY ADULT (1 X adult with max 2 x U12)
U12 (no admission without adult)
AMBULANT DISABLED ADULT (must be in receipt of PIP/DLA)
AMBULANT DISABLED CONCESSION (must be in receipt of PIP/DLA)
PERSONAL ASSISTANT (no admission without ambulant disabled supporter)