St Mirren V Kilmarnock at St Mirren Park : Match Preview

16 August 2013 06:33
St Mirren V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Thompson hoping to net against pal

St Mirren striker Steven Thompson remains on friendly terms with former Buddie Craig Samson but insists the old-pals act will count for nothing when the goalkeeper's new side travel to Paisley on Saturday.

Samson rejected the offer of a new contract with Saints in the summer to return to his hometown club Kilmarnock.

There's no hard feelings between Thompson and his old team-mate, however, and the pair have already spoken in the build up to this weekend's Scottish Premiership meeting.

But Thompson, who was in the same side as Samson last season when they led St Mirren to the Scottish Communities League Cup with a 3-2 win over Hearts at Hampden, insists their friendship will not stand in his way when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net.

The 34-year-old frontman said: "Killie obviously have Craig Samson in goal, so I will be hoping to put one past him.

"I spoke to him earlier in the week and we had a good chat. He's loving his time at Kilmarnock, he's a Killie boy so he's enjoying being back down there.

"He was a great friend and a great team-mate but unfortunately that doesn't count for anything when you are out on the pitch and I'll be looking to score against him."

St Mirren started the season with a 3-0 defeat to Inverness in the Highlands but were denied the opportunity for swift vengeance when their subsequent league fixture with Celtic was postponed while the Scottish champions flew to Dublin for a friendly with Liverpool.

A further blow arrived on Thursday when it was confirmed Newcastle's young striker Adam Campbell would not follow Conor Newton north on loan after he moved to Carlisle instead.

But Thompson, capped 16 times for Scotland, is confident the Paisley side can finally kick-start their season when they run out in front of their own fans for the first time this term.

"We are champing to get going again, especially after losing the first game up at Inverness," he said. "When you lose a game, you always want the next one to come around quickly so you can right what went wrong.

"But the postponement of the Celtic game has given us an extra week to prepare and we have managed to put quite a lot of work in on the training ground. Hopefully that will stand us in good stead.

"There wasn't an awful lot in the game against Inverness. We were disappointed with the penalty decision and then lost areally sloppy goal after. But a 3-0 defeat is pretty bad, so we need to put that right tomorrow in front of our own fans and get our season up and running."

Saturday's meeting with the Ayrshire men will see former Saint Allan Johnston return to his old club for the first time as a boss.

The former Queen of the South manager has struggled to add to the squad he inherited from Kenny Shiels in the summer but has landed Jackson Irvine on a six-month loan deal from Celtic this week.

Jackson Irvine is determined to hit the ground running at Kilmarnock and quickly prove he can handle life at the top level.

The 20-year-old has joined on loan from Celtic for six months with the aim of securing plenty of first-team football.

And the versatile Australian - who can play in defence or midfield - has told new boss Allan Johnston he is ready, willing and able to be pitched straight into the Scottish Premiership game against St Mirren.

Irvine said: "It's a great opportunity for me to get some first-team experience here and hopefully get a regular start in a first-team.

"Hopefully I can build on the experience and take it back with me and further my career. It will enable me to progress.

"You can learn a lot in youth games and things like that but once you get to a certain point, I think you need to test yourself physically against men every week.

"The thing I'm most looking forward to is pushing myself and seeing how far I can take it at this level.

"I'm 100 per cent ready for this weekend if called upon. To try to get into the team as quickly as possible is essential and also to get a good run of games.

"If I can step in straightaway and keep my position in the team, it would be great for me."

Irvine's loan spell at Rugby Park comes with the full backing of Hoops boss Neil Lennon.

Irvine temporarily signed off at Celtic in style with an appearance against Liverpool in last week's friendly in Dublin.

Source: PA