St Johnstone V St Mirren at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

23 February 2013 03:31
St Johnstone V St Mirren - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lomas hopes time is a healer

St Johnstone could again be without Dave Mackay, Chris Millar and Murray Davidson for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League game against St Mirren at McDiarmid Park.

Skipper Mackay (calf) and midfielders Millar (groin) and Davidson (ankle) all missed the 1-1 home draw with Celtic in midweek.

However, manager Steve Lomas will give all three as much time as possible to recover ahead of the Buddies' visit while Gary Miller (ankle), and Jamie Adams (back) remain sidelined.

Lomas believes thes departure of Barry Smith from Dundee simply confirmed the callous and cut-throat nature of modern-day football.

The Dens Park side, sitting bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, 15 points behind St Mirren, parted company with the 39-year-old, who spent 11 years as a player with the Taysiders before succeeding Gordon Chisholm in 2010 after the club entered administration.

Dundee finished second to Ross County in last season's Irn-Bru First Division and were only admitted to the top flight at the last moment at the expense of Rangers, who lost their place due to financial problems.

Lomas expressed sympathy for Smith, whom he claimed was treated like all players and managers, as a "commodity".

"I've been in the game for many a year," the former West Ham and Manchester City midfielder told Press Association Sport.

"People talk about loyalty and this, that and the other, but you are a commodity and when you are (thought) done, you are down the road, same as when you are a player. The only people who are loyal in the game these days are the fans, really.

"But I have a great deal of sympathy for Barry. To not know what league you are going to be in until the week before, how can you plan?

"That wasn't Dundee's fault, that was just the scenario but he went through two administrations (at the club), so let's have it right, he has been through the mill at Dundee.

"I thought he probably deserved the chance to be managing them next season and be judged on that, but whatever Dundee's thinking was, I have a great deal of sympathy for Barry because I don't believe he was given a fair crack. But I'm sure he will bounce back."

St Mirren boss Danny Lennon warned his players that coasting in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League will harm their chances of winning the Scottish Communities League Cup next month.

The Buddies are set to play Hearts in the Hampden final on March 17 but Lennon is concentrating for the moment solely on a top-six finish in the SPL.

A 1-0 home defeat to Hibernian last week kept Saints second bottom of the table, 15 points ahead of Dundee, who parted company with manager Barry Smith on Wednesday.

"We have good quality and I certainly believe we failed to show those qualities last week," said Lennon. "If any of our players have a notion that they can dwindle by until the final - which I don't think is the case - then we certainly won't be at our best on cup final day. We are at our best when we are at it week-in, week-out.

"We have cup final places to play for but the standard of football last week was certainly not our best and not acceptable for important games coming up.

"The players know that and will look to rectify it on Saturday. We have a very important game on March 17 but where our bread and butter is and where primarily you are judged upon, is our league position.

"Generally the level of performances since November have been excellent. We have bad days but to get nine or 10 players under-performing is very unusual.

"But after a poor performance, we have always seemed to come back with a positive performance or a result and that is certainly our aim.

"We have a chance of breaking into the top six in the next seven games and we are looking, like many teams, to put a good run together.

"St Johnstone struggled early in the season but managed to go on a fantastic run of five straight wins and have stayed in the top half of the table since. If we managed to put that run like that together that would guarantee a top-six finish."

Source: PA