St Johnstone: The View From The Opposition
We now enter the nitty-gritty part of the season following the split of the Premiership. With five games remaining in the bottom six, Dundee have it all to do to ensure they are playing Premiership football next season and up first, we welcome St Johnstone to Dens Park.
St Johnstone are all but safe and despite a not reaching the top six, they can play out the remainder of their matches without the stress of looking over their shoulder with the fear of being dragged into the bottom two.
The teams only met just over a month ago when The Saints basically dismantled a lacklustre Dundee team 4-0, in what can only be described as a horror show for the Dens Park faithful but utter delight for the travelling away fans.
This time around, we will hopefully see a more experienced Dundee team on the field as they prepare to drag themselves away from the bottom two places.
We caught up with St Johnstone Fans in the lead up to Saturdays match about their recent soon-to-be departures from the club, their feeling on 'that' incident last time around and most importantly, who will leave the ground with the points.
We have only recently locked horns at Dens. St Johnstone ran over an out of sorts Dundee team that day 4-0. What was your take on that match?
What a brilliant day that was! That’s the sort of performance we know we can get from this group of players, we just haven’t seen it enough this season - hence our position in the league.
Some of the Dundee defending that day might also be some of the worst I’ve seen in some time. As the game wore on, the gap between the midfield and defence was huge which allowed us to be a little more direct, which really worked in our favour.
We can’t speak about that match without the incident at the end. My opinion is, emotions were riding high and it was basically handbags at dawn. How did you see it?
Despite sometimes it seemed that you might have been dragged into a wee scuffle near the bottom of the table, The Saints have knuckled down to get the points on board to ensure that never happened. You will now fight Motherwell for seventh place. With them reaching the Scottish Cup Final, can you see them having one eye on that and your team leapfrogging them?
Think a lot of credit has to go to Tommy Wright once again for steering us clear of any relegation battle, which looked likely at one stage.
Here’s hoping they take their eye off the ball a little bit, but I can’t see it happening. They went up to Pittodrie the week before the League Cup Final and ran out easy 2-0 winners so I can’t see it being any different this time.
This week has seen Steven MacLean join Hearts on a pre-contract. Is this a blow to see him leave?
One thing that irked me about this transfer was that this was announced with him holding up a Hearts scarf. I always feel that this should be left until the players time at the club he is transferring from has come to an end. Do you hold the same feelings?
In this instance, Steven MacLean can do what he wants. But generally, yeah. Shows a real lack of respect to current employers and photo shoots aren’t urgent and can wait until the player has moved on.
Allan Mannus has also signalled that his time is up in Perth. Will it be tough for someone to fill his boots?
Absolutely, I may be slightly biased, but I feel he’s been the most underrated keeper in the league in recent times. He's made some vital saves at vital times - one that sticks in my mind is against Motherwell in 2014. Think we’d won once in 6 and Motherwell were 1-0 at the time, he saves one-on-one, Michael O’Halloran goes up the other end and scores and we win 2-1. We then go on to win 5 of next 6, only dropping points at Dens!
Hopefully Zander Clark can really kick on now, and maybe even see young Mark Hurst step up as a back up.
What injury worries have St Johnstone got leading up to Saturdays match?
From the top of my head, Chris Kane, Denny Johnstone, David McMillan and Callum Hendry are all missing - leaving Steven MacLean as our only fit senior striker. We’re also without Stefan Scougall and Blair Alston. Unsure on Brian Easton situation but imagine he’ll miss out too.
Thankfully, we should see a different Dundee team. We will have McGowan and Kamara back so we will actually have a midfield! Will your fans travel from Perth expecting the same as last time? Who do you think will win?
I certainly hope not! Dundee are a different team defensively with those two in midfield, so I imagine it’ll be a lot lot closer this time. If I had to pick one team, on recent form I’d choose Saints, but, that’s exactly when we’ll see a 5-0 Dundee win!