St Johnstone V Kilmarnock at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

08 March 2013 06:01
St Johnstone V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Davidson backs Saints to bounce back

St Johnstone full-back Callum Davidson admits they have to learn to adapt to different challenges after being overpowered by Hearts in midweek - but he is confident they can bounce back against Kilmarnock.

A formidable Tynecastle strike pair of John Sutton and Michael Ngoo proved too much for Saints on Tuesday as Hearts secured a 2-0 win in Edinburgh and the Perth side missed the chance to move third in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

Kilmarnock are likely to prove a different prospect with their passing style but the bumpy McDiarmid Park pitch might force them to change their tactics.

And Davidson knows they have to be prepared for any eventuality after manager Steve Lomas described them as "second best all over the pitch" on Tuesday.

"It really hasn`t happened too often this season," Davidson said.

"Hearts had a game plan which we couldn`t quite handle and we didn't really adapt well enough.

"I think the effort and commitment was there but the quality when we didn`t have the ball was probably lacking.

"It`s one of those things that you have to work on.

"You come across different teams all the time, different formations and different style of play, and you have got to adapt to them all."

Midfielder Patrick Cregg is suspended for the clash and defender Frazer Wright is a doubt with a knee injury.

The former Killie centre-back came off at half-time against Hearts in midweek with a tendinitis problem.

Meanwhile, Kilmarnock striker Paul Heffernan insists he is not worried by Kris Boyd's arrival at Rugby Park - and instead hopes he can strike up a lethal combination with the most prolific frontman in Clydesdale Bank Premier League history.

Boyd has signed a short-term deal that will keep him with Kenny Shiels' side until the end of the season after his release from MLS side Portland Timbers.

But so far, the former Scotland frontman - the SPL's record scorer with 164 strikes - and Heffernan have managed just six minutes of action together after the former's late substitute appearance in last weekend's 4-2 William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final defeat to Hibernian.

However, ex-Rangers man Boyd did press home his case for a start in the meeting with St Johnstone by netting in a 4-1 defeat to the Perth men's Under-20s on Wednesday night.

Heffernan, though, knows he already faces stiff competition for his starting slot from the likes of Cillian Sheridan and instead of feeling threatened, hopes to link up with Boyd in a two-pronged attack.

The 31-year-old told Press Association Sport: "I don't think Kris' arrival puts any more pressure on me. Kris is a good player but so is Cillian Sheridan, while we've got Willie Gros and Rory McKenzie too.

"Boydy has come in and I'm sure he will want to play games - but just like all the strikers will want to do.

"It's good competition and I'm sure a lot of teams in the SPL would like to have that kind of competition for places.

"We've not been on the pitch much together so far but hopefully if we do get to link up we can get a few goals and start off on the right foot."

Shiels has a major selection headache ahead of the game with five players set to miss the trip to Perth.

Defenders Garry Hay and Rory McKeown, skipper Manuel Pascali and forwards Rory McKenzie and Borja Perez are all unavailable through injury but midfield anchorman Sammy Clingan has been passed fit.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:57