• Date: Sat 04 August 2012
  • Kick-off: 15:00
  • Venue: St Mirren Park

St Mirren vs Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Form Guide -

St Mirren

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Head to Head
St Mirren
Inverness CT 05-May-2012
Inverness CT
St Mirren 28-Jan-2012
St Mirren
Inverness CT 03-Dec-2011
Inverness CT
St Mirren 01-Oct-2011
Inverness CT
St Mirren 07-May-2011
St Mirren
Inverness CT 12-Feb-2011

Match Preview

Focus on football again, says Lennon

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon believes now is the time to move on from one of the most turbulent periods in Scottish football's history and make the nation proud of the game again.

The demise of Rangers, and their subsequent demotion to the Irn-Bru Third Division, has dominated the back pages over the summer.

However, fears over the potential financial impact on Clydesdale Bank Premier League clubs has been eased to an extent by the news that Sky Sports and ESPN are both set to continue their coverage of Scottish football's top-flight.

And, on the eve of Saints` SPL curtain-raiser against Inverness, Lennon is thrilled to be able to focus on the football once again.

He said: "There was a lot of speculation throughout the summer, and even prior to the season finishing, so to get to where we are today with everything relatively intact is great.

"It's important now that every club, and us as a nation, get back to what this country is all about. We are a proud nation, with a proud footballing history.

"It's time for every club to get all their fans to fall back in love with the beautiful game."

Lennon is still in the dark as to whether cash from the TV deals will allow him to strengthen his squad further before the end of the month.

The Buddies boss said: "We still don't know any concrete figures at this moment in time. Hopefully by the end of business (on Friday), there will be clarification on that.

"If it happens, it's a welcome bonus. I'm working on the basis that this is what I have going into the new season so, if anything comes back into play, it's a welcome bonus.

"Every manager would like to have money at their disposal so that they can strengthen.

"If you look at any part of your team, you could strengthen if money wasn't an issue.

"I'm delighted with the personnel that we have at our football club.

"I certainly believe this group of players will make us stronger."

Steven Thompson, Jim Goodwin and Marc McAusland are suspended for the visit of Inverness, while Graham Carey is injured.

Lennon said: "Every player is going to be a valuable member of what we are trying to achieve this season.

"When you have not one, but four, key players out the group is going to be affected.

"We will still manage to get a strong 11 out there so it's about focusing on that and getting the job done with the resources that we have.

"I would rather focus on the players that I have at my disposal than the ones that I don't."

On the threat posed by the Highlanders, Lennon added: "I expect nothing other than a difficult challenge.

"All the encounters that we have had with Inverness have been very close encounters."

Inverness winger Aaron Doran is champing at the bit ahead of the new season.

Doran, 21, missed the majority of last season with shoulder and hamstring injuries and the former Blackburn youngster is now raring to go on the eve of the new campaign.

"It was the worst season I've had," he said.

"I played seven or eight games and it was really horrible for me, I said last season that I was sick of watching them play every weekend and I just can't wait for the season to start.

"The shoulder injury I thought was going to be three months but it was more like four to five months so that was hard to take.

"In pre-season already I've played six or seven games which is nearly as many as I played in the whole of last season. I'm feeling sharp and feeling good."

Inverness boss Terry Butcher will be hoping that Doran's injury woes are firmly behind him as he has already highlighted the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international as a replacement for Jonny Hayes.

Hayes, also capped by the Republic at under-21 level, rejected a new contract at Inverness to join Aberdeen and Doran is ready to fill his boots.

"Jonny did really well when he was here so the fans are going to be expecting a lot from me because they want to see what I can do and hopefully I can show them I can be as good, if not better, than Jonny," he said.

Inverness have a good record at St Mirren, including a 1-0 win towards the end of last season, and Doran is targeting an opening-day win to build on an impressive pre-season.

He said: "Last season it took us a while to get going and get a win and the team to gel but we are looking really good together this year and if we get a good win at the weekend it will put us in good stead for the next few games.

"Pre-season has gone really well except for the Brechin result (a 2-1 defeat) and the lads have performed well in every game and we are looking forward to the start of the season."

All seven of Butcher's summer signings are available for selection.

The only players unavailable are long-term injury absentee Chris Hogg (knee) and experienced midfielder Richie Foran, who is suspended.

Despite losing a raft of players at the end of last season Butcher has brought in the likes of defender Simon King and former Liverpool youngster David Raven.

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