St Johnstone V Partick at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

27 September 2013 04:00
St Johnstone V Partick - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Davidson back for Thistle test

St Johnstone will welcome back Murray Davidson for Saturday's Scottish Premiership meeting with Partick Thistle at McDiarmid Park.

The Scotland midfielder injured a knee in the 2-1 defeat to Celtic last week and missed Tuesday night's League Cup win over Hamilton but has now been passed fit for Thistle's visit to Perth.

Only long-term broken leg victim David Robertson is unavailable to boss Tommy Wright but the midfielder is nearing a return to action.

Wright has told the Perth support to think again if they believe repeating last year's feats will be easy.

The McDiarmid manager saw his side bounce back from four Premiership matches without victory by beating Hamilton in the League Cup on Tuesday.

The Northern Irishman denied he felt under pressure during that run but did admit expectations have risen for Saints since their impressive displays in the Europa League qualifiers.

Now he has warned the club's fans that reaching the top six and qualifying for Europe for a third year in a row will be as hard as ever.

Wright saidt: "From that run of four games, the only disappointing performance - and even then it was only parts of the game - was against Hibs.

"We were never worried and I think we have still had a good start to the season and have won a cup game. Maybe expectation levels have risen among some supporters and some parts of the media.

"Maybe they think we are going to be a shoo-in for the top six and a European spot. But we never said that. We want to be there come the end of the season but we know it will be difficult.

"There will be games where we don't perform well and lose. That happens in the league. We will never get carried away or downbeat if we don't pick up one or two results."

Thistle boss Alan Archibald is hopeful Stuart Bannigan will be fit.

The Scotland Under-21 midfielder missed Wednesday's Scottish League Cup tie against Dundee United at Tannadice with a groin strain but expects to return.

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair picked up a knock against United but should be fine although Jordan MacMillan misses out again with an ankle knock.

Archibald's side have scored seven goals in seven league games to take them into seventh place.

But midfielder Stuart Bannigan believes they could be further up the table if more chances had been converted.

He said: "In most games we have played in, we have actually dominated possession or had the bulk of possession so we have to start converting that into goals.

"It has been hard. Teams are quicker and sharper around the box and they will punish you if you give them a chance. So you need to be on your guard at all times.

"Maybe last year we would have got away with a bit more. Defences were not as good and we maybe scored goals a bit more freely but this year if we don't take our chances, they go up the park and score against you.

"We have not won since beating St Mirren so we are looking for a good performance up in Perth."

Source: PA