Kilmarnock V St Johnstone at Rugby Park : Match Preview
Kilmarnock V St Johnstone - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Racchi relief after recovering from injury
Kilmarnock midfielder Danny Racchi hopes to complete his return from patient to playmaker against St Johnstone at Rugby Park.
The 25-year-old former York player has been out since early October recovering from a knee injury which eventually required an operation.
After a couple of setbacks during his seven weeks' rehabilitation period under Killie physios, Alex MacQueen and Ross Goodwin, the Englishman is ready for action.
"The last game I played was Aberdeen at home, so this will be my seventh week," he said.
"I tore my cartilage in my knee. I actually did it against Hearts but I trained and played the following week.
"I got an operation five weeks ago and my knee is feeling good.
"It hasn't been easy. After the operation I couldn't really do anything for four or five days.
"But I have been doing rehab every day and the physios, Alex and Rosco (Goodwin) have been absolutely brilliant. They have had to put up with me moaning at times, but they have been brilliant and that is why I got back so quickly.
"I am a horrible patient, not the greatest. I was asking every day if I could step it up a little bit more and they were saying that I wasn't ready.
"A couple of times I went out running as part of my assessment and broke down, there was a bit of pain and the knee swelled up again so I have had to take a couple of steps back.
"But I'm back training and got 60 minutes in a reserve game against St Mirren and now I have to work hard to get my shirt back.
"Hopefully, I will be in contention to make the bench or whatever the gaffer needs me for.
"The boys have done well but I am working towards getting myself back in the team."
Kilmarnock will be without Liam Kelly for the game. The midfielder, who won his first Scotland cap in the friendly against Luxembourg last week, is out with a shoulder injury sustained in a training ground accident.
Meanwhile, St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas insists performances and points are more important than placings as he prepares for the clash.
Saints, like Killie, could move into third place with a victory but the Perth side have not won a game since they beat Kenny Shiels' side at McDiarmid Park in October.
Since then Lomas' men have drawn three and lost two, including being knocked out of the Scottish Communities League Cup by Celtic and a home SPL draw against Ross County last week.
Former Manchester City and West Ham midfielder Lomas is looking to get back to winning ways, regardless of where it might leave them in the table in the short-term.
He said: "We had the chance to go third against Ross County but it is not about the table at this stage.
"It is about keeping performances up, getting as many points on the board as we can and when the league splits we will see where we are then.
"We played well against Kilmarnock last time but we have played as well in other games.
"And as well as we played, Killie could have maybe nicked a point at the end.
"So it is going to be a tough game.
"I watched Kilmarnock against Dundee United last Friday and they were superb in the first half so we will have to put on a performance.
"You can't put in a duff performance and take the points.
"They have good attacking players and a good double act in Cillian Sheridan and Paul Heffernan.
"Cillian was excellent when he was here and I knew he would be a success at Killie and Paul is a superb player and finisher.
"They have the makings of a good partnership.
"They will test you and we need to be on our mettle."
Lomas is also glad to have Patrick Cregg back in contention after the midfielder was sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury.
He said: "It is very important to have a fully-fit squad because we have five games in 11 days around the Christmas period."
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