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Lomas Does Not Want To Play With Words
Steve Loams is letting his players do the talking to get the better of Hearts tonight.
St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas has the opportunity to get his side to forget all about Saturday's trashing by Dundee United as he welcomes Paulo Sergio's Hearts to Perth for their Scottish Cup fifth-round replay tonight. Lomas has a healthy respect for his Portuguese counterpart and paid tribute to the job Sergio has done despite well-documented off-field problems at Tynecastle. Asked if he had anything to say ahead of the game about how Sergio should act (ala Killie manager Kenny Shiels), Lomas said: "It's not my style. I've got a lot of time and respect for Paulo Sergio and his players. It has been a troubled season in terms of what's going on off the field. It has galvanised them to an extent. Paulo and his players can take a lot of credit for that. It's not easy when you've got troubles like that off the field." With the news that the taxman is playing hard ball with Rangers, Hearts' off-field worries could be back to haunt them soon enough, with the threat of liquidation hanging over them over an unpaid tax bill and the players' wages due on Thursday. January was the first time in four months that players were paid on time under threat of sanctions which could be imposed by the SPL. A cup win to take them to the quarter-finals could help the Edinburgh side's cash flow situation. However, Lomas is keen to go one better than when the sides originally met at Tynecastle when his side, despite the sending-off of defender Dave Mackay, took the lead only to be held to a 1-1 draw. The winners of the tie will meet the winners of one of the other fifth-round replays; St Mirren or Ross County, who meet in Dingwall tonight. Lomas said: "It's always a priority to win games and get as far in the cup as we can, but we know it's not going to be easy. We can only look after ourselves and it's on the night, it's a one-off, so hopefully we can get it done." Saints lost 5-1 to Dundee United in the league on Saturday, losing three goals in the final six minutes. Lomas is pleased to have an immediate opportunity to make amends. He said: "It was a very bizarre game, from getting back to 2-1 with eight minutes to go and all of a sudden getting beaten 5-1. It was a strange game, I couldn't really explain it. It's good we've got something so close to bounce back, it's a great game for the club, so it's something we should be looking forward to." Lomas could have midfielder Murray Davidson back for the game following an ankle injury. Lomas added: "Murray's a big part of what we do, his energy and drive in midfield. We're hopeful he's going to be fit." The Saints manager also has a decision to make regarding the number one position after a Peter Enckelman mistake led to a United goal, with Alan Mannus waiting for his opportunity. Lomas did not want to be drawn on whether he would change goalkeepers but he said: "Peter made a mistake on Saturday. All the other players can make a mistake and get away with it, goalkeepers get punished. We're very lucky we've got two very good goalkeepers at the club."
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