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McAlister spent two season with Hamilton from 2010-2012 where he played over 50 times for them. He would then move to Dundee where he play 124 times in the Dark Blues, scoring 13 times. During his time at Dens, McAlister would be part of the Championship winning side of 2013-14 who incidentally, beat Hamilton to the title. Jim was ever-present the next season in the Premiership before leaving in the summer for his current club, Blackpool. Read on to find out who has impressed McAlister from both sides and who he thinks will come out on top. Jim, as an ex player for both Dundee and Hamilton, have you seen much of either team this year and what have you made of their performances? I have seen both teams this season when they have been on the TV. Both teams on their day are a match for most in the league and it seems that consistency is the biggest problem for them both. I am a wee bit surprised where they both sit in the league. I thought they might be comfortably mid-table. In fairness to both teams, this isn’t unfamiliar territory for either but did you think you would see both Hamilton and Dundee still trying to find the points to achieve safety for next season? I surprised that both teams still require the points to get safe as they both have the players to be pushing to get into that top half of the league. Out of the times you have seen both clubs this term. Who has impressed you from Hamilton? The times I have seen Accies, I would probably say the one that sticks out is the boy (David) Templeton. He has popped up with some important goals for them this season and I'm sure he will be very important to them in the remaining games. And who has impressed you from Dundee’s starting XI? In terms of Dundee the boy (Glen) Kamara looks a very first football player and seems to have a bit of everything to his game. I have to give my ex-team mate a mention as well, wee Gowser (Paul McGowan). You know what you get from Gowser and he's certainly a player you would like in the trenches with you. It’s a huge match this Saturday. A defeat could be catastrophic for either. Hamilton are undefeated in their last four matches at Dens. Who can you see coming out on top in this tie? I think it will be a right game as per usual on Sat. The teams are well matched. Hamilton seem to come into their own at this stage of the season and have a fantastic spirit and all fight for one another. Dundee maybe play a bit more football but that could go out the window with what's at stake. I will go for a narrow Dundee win. A final thought, do you think either side will find themselves in the bottom two come the end of the season? I don't see either of the two teams getting sucked into the bottom two places. I believe both squads have more about them than Thistle and County
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? Just handbags really. I can understand McCann’s frustration, however, no need for the slap but when red mist descends.... I thought the 2 match bans were harsh, although McCann’s has now been reduced. 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? Absolutely. First and foremost, he is a club legend and is absolutely adored by Saints fans. After all, he’s a Scottish Cup winner. He’s a player I feel has embodied everything we’ve been about the last few years. I think his experience will be a big loss - you can see the impact he had on Stevie May and Chris Kane. However, and I may be proved wrong in time but from what we’ve seen the majority of this season, he isn’t good enough anymore. Whether or not letting him go is the right decision...we’ll see. 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!