Aberdeen V St Mirren at Pittodrie Stadium : Match Preview

08 February 2013 05:31
Aberdeen V St Mirren - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Milsom eyes Euro spot

Rob Milsom is looking for Aberdeen to shrug off last week's cup disappointment and finish their Clydesdale Bank Premier League season with a European place to show for their efforts.

The Dons crashed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 1-0 defeat at Hibernian which, following a Scottish Communities League Cup exit to St Mirren last October, leaves them without the prospect of a Hampden final this season.

Craig Brown's side, sitting in sixth place in the SPL, are without a win in five games but former Fulham midfielder Milsom, 26, is looking for a return to form against the Buddies at Pittodrie on Saturday.

"I thought we were the better team last week and were the better team the week before but didn't get the win, but that's football," Milsom told Red TV.

"We are out of the cup competitions, it is massively disappointing and hard to take but there is still a lot to play for.

"We have to get last week out of our head, put it behind us, move on in a positive frame of mind and try to finish as high as we can in the league.

"We need to finish in those places where we qualify for Europe, so pushing up to second and third is a must for us.

"St Mirren will come here full of confidence but it is important that we get at them and get the three points."

Four out of Aberdeen's next five SPL games are at home and Milsom is hoping that Pittodrie will be the place to repay the club's travelling support for their backing this season.

"It is a big opportunity and it is important that the fans come to see us," he said.

"You can understand their frustration, coming down in the numbers they did to Hibs, and not just to that game, but throughout the season.

"I just hope they stick by us and hopefully we can repay their faith."

Aberdeen could have Gary Naysmith and Ryan Jack back in their squad. Boss Brown believes the pair are close to full fitness after returning to training following lengthy absences.

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon claims he has not been surprised by the impact Esmael Goncalves has made on Scottish football so far.

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a blistering start to his Saints career by netting four goals in three games since joining on loan from Rio Ave.

And, as the Buddies prepare to take on Aberdeen, Lennon believes the Portuguese will continue to be a handful for teams even though they know what to expect from him now.

He said: "I'm not surprised. If I didn't think he would have an impact on our football club and help the group then he wouldn't be here.

"He's certainly hit the ground running and long may that continue.

"A lot of people don't know a great deal about him but they'll quickly get to know him.

"I believe he will be one of those players, whether you know his strengths or weaknesses, he will always cause problems anyway."

The Pittodrie pitch appeared to be in a poor state when Scotland played Estonia in a friendly on Wednesday night - but Lennon has no fears about the surface.

He said: "We know the circumstances and the particularly nasty weather that we have here in Scotland.

"It can be difficult, with the demands of the game being put upon it, and we've just got to go with whatever the conditions are.

"It's not within our control. The only thing we can control is our attitude and the way we want to go about our business."

However, midfielder Conor Newton did express concerns about the playing conditions.

He said: "I saw the pitch for the Scotland game and it looks like it's going to be a battle to be honest.

"It looked like it was hard to get the ball down and play and there were bobbles all over the place.

"It might not suit me but we've got to go there and battle."

Lennon has no fresh injury worries. The Buddies boss could name a similar squad to the one which defeated St Johnstone last week.

Source: PA