Ross County V St Johnstone at Victoria Park : Match Preview

29 April 2016 05:34
Ross County V St Johnstone - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Ross County chief Jim McIntyre ready for tough Saints showdown

Ross County boss Jim McIntyre is bracing himself for another battle against St Johnstone on Saturday as the race for fourth spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership heats up.

The Perth side shocked second-placed Aberdeen with a 3-0 win at McDiarmid Park last Friday night and the following day Motherwell beat third-placed Hearts 1-0 at Fir Park.

For their part, the Staggies battled to a more than creditable 1-1 draw with Celtic at Parkhead on Sunday to leave them two points behind the Saints and three behind Well with four games remaining.

County have drawn 1-1 twice with St Johnstone in Perth and lost by the odd goal in five the last time the sides met in Dingwall and McIntyre expects another tight affair.

He said: "We have to maximise being at home and try to get the three points against a St Johnstone side who were excellent against Aberdeen.

"We know that they will be fighting along the same lines, if they can manage to take care of us then that puts them in a very strong position.

"I have gone on record before saying St Johnstone's level of consistency in the last four or five seasons is what we would like to achieve."

McIntyre, who was earlier this week nominated for the PFA Scotland manager of the year award after winning the League Cup this season for the Staggies - their first major honour - while achieving a top-six finish, will take confidence from his side's display against Celtic last week.

The former Dunfermline and Queen of the South manager said: "We knew we had to get something and we managed to do that."

Ross County captain Andrew Davies and midfielder Martin Woods return from suspension to face St Johnstone.

Defender Richard Foster will miss the rest of the campaign after undergoing groin surgery and forward Craig Curran (concussion) remains out for the Staggies.

St Johnstone striker Steven MacLean admits he is chasing some extra beer tokens as he looks to toast another successful season.

The McDiarmid club have already secured themselves a top-six finish for the fifth year running but MacLean says his side are not done yet.

And he shrugged off suggestions motivation might be an issue for Saints in their final fortnight of the campaign after the prize of a European slot was taken away.

Rangers' victory over Celtic in the semi-final of the William Hill Scottish Cup snatched away the Europa League ticket from the team finishing fourth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

But MacLean claims there is still plenty to fire up the Perth men as they look to finish above top-six rivals Motherwell and Ross County - not least the lure of a bumper end-of-season squad bonus.

With four games to go, Tommy Wright's team are a point behind Well but two ahead of the Staggies, who they face in Dingwall this weekend.

MacLean, 33, told Press Association Sport: "When you are playing for Europe or cup finals that helps motivate you but we don't have that now.

"However, it's still big games we're involved in. We've still got Ross County, Motherwell, Celtic and Hearts to play - big sides who have done well this season.

"We've got a pretty decent bonus system here too. The further you finish up the league, the better you get.

"So we want to do as well as we can. Although we have good jobs, we're not on the kind of money players get in England so we're trying to get some holiday cash and some beer tokens together."

Wright will assess midfielder Murray Davidson before deciding whether to include him.

The former Livingston man has been struggling with a hamstring complaint.

Brian Easton (hamstring) and Danny Swanson (dead leg) do return but Craig Thomson (broken collarbone) and Dave Mackay (hip) will not play again this season.

Source: PAR