Motherwell V St Johnstone at Fir Park Stadium : Match Preview

19 January 2013 02:31
Motherwell V St Johnstone - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Ramsden happy in Scotland

Motherwell's English defender Simon Ramsden may be a lone figure of contentment in Scottish football at the moment.

While the debate around reconstruction of the game rages on with arguments and counter-arguments surrounding the latest proposal from the Scottish Premier League - a 12-12-18 set-up which splits into 8-8-8-18 during the season - the 31-year-old former Grimsby, Rochdale and Bradford player is happy with life in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League following his move to Lanarkshire last summer.

Ahead of Sunday's SPL clash with St Johnstone at Fir Park, Ramsden said: "I have nothing but praise for everything I have been involved in since I have been up here.

"Obviously the lads who have been up here longer than I have might give you a different answer but for me, it's been great.

"I have enjoyed the style of play.

"I didn't know what to expect and coming from League Two where it is pretty much a physical battle the majority of the time, I found you do get a little bit more time on the ball here in Scotland.

"Playing at the back, you get it from the keeper and play which I enjoy doing so from that point of view it has been really enjoyable.

"So I have nothing but praise for the standard I have seen so far.

"Regarding what's going on with reconstruction, we just keep focused on the games."

Ramsden is looking forward to getting back into action against the Saints following the fortnight's winter break.

He said: "The last game against Celtic seems like ages ago to be honest.

"The winter break is something very new to me.

"It has been good and bad because I had four or five games in a row and was getting back in the swing of things so I would have liked to have continued playing but for the lads in general it came at a good time and they are all raring to go again."

Kallum Higginbotham is in the Motherwell squad for Sunday's clash with St Johnstone.

Boss Stuart McCall has signed the 23-year-old Huddersfield forward on loan until the end of the season.

Stopper Shaun Hutchinson has recovered from a tight hamstring while defender Steven Saunders is available again after recovering from a knee injury.

St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas will assess the few "niggles" he has in his squad.

Defender Steven Anderson is ruled out again with a knee injury, while midfielder Jamie Adams will undergo surgery on a back problem which has decimated his season and is unlikely to feature again before the end of the campaign.

Lomas believes his players will be refreshed and raring to get back into action against Motherwell following a hectic period before the winter break.

The Steelmen played six games in 18 days ahead of the fortnight's shutdown which the Northern Irishman believes came at the right time for his squad.

Ahead of the trip to Fir Park, Lomas said: "The players had played a lot of football before the break.

"With the extra game in the Scottish Cup, we played more football than any other team in the SPL.

"It was a very tough period and albeit we took four points from our last two games, there were signs of tiredness.

"So it was great to give the players four or five days off right away to freshen up.

"But we have been back training hard and are ready to go again."

The Perth side resume their campaign in sixth spot in the SPL, four points behind third-placed Motherwell.

The two sides drew 1-1 at Fir Park earlier in the season but McCall's men triumphed 3-1 at McDiarmid Park in November.

The former West Ham and Manchester City midfielder, who saw midfielder Liam Craig sign a pre-contract earlier in the week with Hibernian, is bracing himself for another tough encounter.

He said: "Motherwell have lost Jamie Murphy in the transfer window but they still have got lots of good players like Lasley, Hateley, Higdon and Humphrey.

"So I don't care what anyone says, they have a squad that any SPL manager would like.

"They have been something of a bogey team for us although we will have to defend better than we did at home against them the last time.

"But we are looking to kick on in the second half of the season and finish in the top six."

Source: PA