Thompson defends Goodwin actions
St Mirren striker Steven Thompson has accused Ross County boss Derek Adams of exacerbating Jim Goodwin's villain status in Scottish football.
The Buddies skipper was at the centre of the touchline spat between Adams and St Mirren boss Danny Lennon last week during the Saints' 2-1 defeat in Dingwall which saw the pair being issued with a notice of complaint by Scottish Football Association compliance officer, Vincent Lunny.
The row centred on Adams' reaction to challenges made on his players by Goodwin with the Staggies boss saying afterwards: "Replays will show if the ref should have booked Jim or not."
Adams likened Goodwin to a "ghost" after claiming the Saints player got away with "kicking lumps" out of his players during County's 2-1 defeat at St Mirren Park last November.
Goodwin is suspended for the Scottish Premiership clash with Kilmarnock in Paisley on Saturday but Thompson believes the County boss has done him no favours this season.
"I feel sorry for Jim," said the Buddies striker. "He's a terrific guy and a real competitor and is someone I would have in my team any day of the week.
"There are times when he is over-zealous in his challenges, he would be the first to admit that.
"But I certainly don't think he has gone out to hurt anybody, I don't think that is in his make-up.
"I think it has been blown out of proportion a little bit and I don't think people help that.
"I certainly feel that Derek Adams has exacerbated the situation with his stuff that has been in the press and I think you have to look after your own house before you start having a go at other people.
"But Jim's a big boy and he will get on with it and I am sure he will be back in the team after suspension and when Jim is focused and fit, people don't like playing against him. "
St Mirren's defeat by County left them in the relegation play-off spot, albeit only three points behind eighth-place Killie.
Thompson admits that Saints' place in the league table initially scared him and urged his team mates to start the rescue process against the Rugby Park men.
The former Dundee United and Rangers forward said: "Taking a look at the league table as we came down the road from Ross County certainly gave me a wee fright.
"Sometimes you need that visual to realise the severity of a situation. We are second-bottom of the league and it has become very real.
"Losing five straight games isn't good enough and there has to be a reaction.
"We have been under-performing, individually and collectively, and we need to rectify that immediately, as games are running out.
"No doubt, it has been a disappointing season of under-achievement but we need to make sure we get it right and avoid this play-off place.
"But Kilmarnock are only three ahead of us so they have not been doing as well as they can do either.
"If we could win the game we could go on the same points and that would be the first step for us in terms of gaining confidence back and looking forward."
St Mirren defender David van Zanten is out as he prepares for a hernia operation while winger Gary Teale is still receiving treatment for an ongoing bone problem.
Kilmarnock are close to having a full squad of players available as full-back Sean Clohessy is pushing for involvement after an ankle injury. Long-term absentee Darren Barr (hip) is the only absentee.
Kilmarnock defender Lee Ashcroft admits he has been boosted by the encouragement of his experienced team-mates after making a sustained first-team breakthrough.
The 20-year-old has started 13 consecutive games and formed a promising partnership with Manuel Pascali in central defence.
And he has also been lifted by the advice of the likes of striker Kris Boyd.
"The likes of Paska and Boydy come up and tell you when you've done well," said Ashcroft ahead of the clash against St Mirren.
"They will be the first to say you have done something wrong but they are always the first to give you encouragement. It's a boost and it's nice after the game to hear you have done well and can take that confidence into the next game.
"Paska talks and helps you through the game. I feel as if we are strong together and getting to know each other's games a lot more now."