St Mirren V Dundee Utd at St Mirren Park : Match Preview

08 March 2013 05:32
St Mirren V Dundee Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Thompson playing mind games ahead of final

Steven Thompson is not afraid to admit he is "visualising" Hampden glory every day ahead of St Mirren's Scottish Communities League Cup final against Hearts next weekend.

However, the 34-year-old former Rangers, Cardiff and Burnley striker is ready to give everything when he faces another of his former clubs, Dundee United, in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash.

As soon as that match is over, Thompson will return to some sports psychology techniques he has picked up over the years to get himself in the best frame of mind for the trip to the national stadium.

"We obviously have this game against Dundee United and have to show a reaction to losing to Dundee during the week, to give belief and confidence back to the supporters for next weekend," he said.

"But there is no doubt you would be lying if you said you weren't thinking of next weekend. It has certainly been at the forefront of my mind for quite some time.

"I think about it on a daily basis. I don't mind talking about it. I am willing to admit that basically it is consuming most of my head space and has been for weeks and I am not scared to admit that.

"I have been visualising plenty of things and they are all positive.

"Visualising is an important part of preparation for sport and in my head I have got quite a few powerful visions.

"You pick up bits and pieces through the years. I have obviously been at a few clubs and sport psychologists have come in and out throughout during my career and talked to players.

"A lot of people were talking about visualisation during the summer at the Olympics and how it can improve your performance and it is a tool I try to use."

Asked if a last-minute winner at Hampden was his perfect scenario, Thompson smiled and replied: "I would take any minute, it doesn't need to be the last."

Boss Danny Lennon revealed that Lee Mair is facing a race against time to be fit for Hampden.

The Buddies defender picked up a stomach injury in the 2-1 SPL defeat by Dundee in midweek which is causing the Paisley boss "real concern."

Lennon revealed Jim Goodwin's calf complaint makes him "touch and go" for the match against Dundee United while Gary Teale is making good recovery from his abductor problem and Thompson will shrug off a tight groin.

Asked if any of his players could be struggling to make the final, Lennon said: "At this minute in time we have got real concern over Lee Mair. He is struggling with a stomach strain."

Meanwhile, Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara admits he does not mind if they win ugly against Saints as long as they take the points back to Tayside.

The Tangerines take on Lennon's men knowing they are approaching the business end of the season and could do with a win to boost their top-six hopes.

United ground out a hard-fought 2-1 Scottish Cup quarter-final victory over Dundee at Dens Park last weekend and McNamara would take more of the same in Paisley this weekend.

He said: "It's all about winning at this stage in the season.

"That is what it comes down to and we know that.

"It wasn't the best game to watch last Sunday but the main thing was getting into the next round.

"We'll have to be prepared to dig deep again against St Mirren as they are a difficult team to play against and we have had them watched.

"We always try to play football and hopefully we can do that but the bottom line is trying to get the three points."

United could hand a debut to new signing Rory Boulding.

Former Livingston striker Boulding signed until the end of the season on Thursday after Johnny Russell was ruled out with a fractured leg.

Swedish defender Marcus Tornstrand is also pushing for his debut with Gavin Gunning (knee) out.

Source: PA