St Johnstone V Dundee at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

01 January 2013 03:01
St Johnstone V Dundee - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lomas determined to avoid complacency

Steve Lomas has warned his St Johnstone players that Tayside neighbours Dundee will be "fighting for their lives" when they visit McDiarmid Park on Wednesday.

The Dees have struggled in their return to the top flight this season and are nine points behind second-bottom Ross County and without an SPL win in six matches.

The Northern Irishman, though, is not reading anything into Dundee's struggles.

"We are not stupid enough not to realise that if we don't put in a performance then we won't win," Lomas told Press Association Sport.

"It is a local derby, Dundee will bring a good support with them and they will be fighting for their lives so we have got to be careful about complacency. We will have to be at our best.

"One thing you can't guarantee in the SPL is three points, the league has shown that.

"Dundee were in a difficult position in the summer, not knowing if they were coming up to the SPL or not which was a nightmare for their manager.

"He has also been hampered by injuries which has affected team selection.

"But they still have good players like Colin Nish and Nicky Riley.

"However, we have to look after ourselves and make sure that complacency doesn't come in.

"We are at the end of a tough period of games over a short space of time and it will be down to who wants it most."

The former Manchester City and West Ham midfielder, pleased with the news that Aberdeen agreed to extend Peter Pawlett's loan deal by three weeks, is hoping to give the Saints fans a home win to enjoy before the winter break.

However, defender Steven Anderson will again be missing with his knee injury.

He said: "Our priority is to get the win at home before the break then the players can rest their legs for a week or so.

"As I have often said, I have been happy with our performances this season.

"The most glaring thing, though, over the last six to eight games is that we haven't been converting our chances.

"If we had nine or 10 points more on the board then I don't think anyone could grumble."

Dundee manager Barry Smith wants to see a drastic improvement from his players at St Johnstone.

The SPL's bottom club went down 3-1 to Aberdeen at Dens Park last Saturday with what was their poorest performance since coming back into the SPL.

And Smith is asking his men for a reaction when they travel to McDiarmid Park in a bid to start the new year on a high.

Smith said: "We know we let ourselves down. It was way below what we can do and that was the most disappointing thing about it.

"So we have to be much better against St Johnstone than we were in the Aberdeen game. That goes without saying.

"That's everybody's aim and it's up to us to go out there and make sure that we are much improved.

"It's good to have a game to look forward to so quickly after the Aberdeen match. There's not much of a wait at all.

"We can try to rectify things by giving a much better display and hopefully getting the three points."

Dundee know the second half of the season is going to be vital in their ongoing efforts to stay up following promotion after a seven-year exile.

The Dark Blues have suffered back-to-back home defeats including the Boxing Day loss at the hands of Celtic.

But Smith insists they can still make up the ground on their nearest rivals to stay in the top-flight.

He said: "It was always going to be difficult but our aim is still the same.

"We're all in this together and the main thing is that we stay in the SPL.

"To do that we have to make sure we get enough points on the board which we can still do.

"One good thing is that we have a great spirit among the lads in the dressing-room which is important.

"They all get on really well together and want the same thing.

"It's always good to win in the SPL, no matter whether it's new year, November of February.

"The boys have been good in training since the Aberdeen defeat and are really looking forward to the St Johnstone game to try and put things right."

Dundee striker Steven Milne could come back into contention after missing the past few games through a stomach muscle injury.

But long-term absentees Davide Grassi (knee), Jamie McCluskey (Achilles), Carl Finnegan (knee) and Mark Kerr (knee) are all still sidelined.

Source: PA