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St Johnstone V Motherwell at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

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18 May 2013 15:31:28

St Johnstone V Motherwell at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

St Johnstone V Motherwell - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Craig puts team first

Liam Craig insists his last game for St Johnstone against Motherwell at McDiarmid Park is all about securing a Europa League berth rather than personal emotions.

Realistically, Saints' only hope of clinching a European spot for the second successive season is to beat the Steelmen in their final Clydesdale Bank Premier League fixture and hope that Inverness do not beat Highland rivals Ross County in Dingwall.

The 26-year-old midfielder will make his last appearance for the Perth club before he moves to Hibernian and is looking to leave Steve Lomas's side with a place in Europe.

He said: "It is just like as any other game, really, although the fact that there is Europe depending on it makes it even better.

"Even though it is my last game and as I have said, I have had a great time here, it is not about me, it is about the club.

"It is also Murray Davidson's last game and a few others have not sorted out their contracts yet, so it is all about pulling together and making one last push for Europe.

"Yes, it will be emotional but as I say, it is not about me, it is about doing my best for the club.

"All we can do is win the game and if we finish fourth and Inverness get into Europe then we will say well done to Inverness.

"The boys at the club have been excellent this season. Now we have to give it one last push and if we get into Europe in back-to-back seasons then that would be excellent."

On the face of it, with Ross County yet to beat Inverness this season and desperate to block Caley's path to Europe and Motherwell safely ensconced in second place in the table, there would be little surprise if St Johnstone leapfrogged Terry Butcher's side into third spot.

However, while Craig acknowledges County could do Saints a turn, he insists the Well players will be equally determined to finish their season on a positive note.

The former Falkirk player said: "It is obviously a Highland derby, Ross County will want to finish on a high and so it will be a difficult game for both teams.

"But it doesn't matter what happens up there if we don't take care of Motherwell, who have rightly finished second and who have had a great season.

"A lot of their players are probably going to be leaving and it could be their last game for the club.

"So I think they will want to end a great season on a high. They won't want to disappoint their fans by turning up here at McDiarmid Park and not putting in an effort.

"So if we are going to take anything from the game then we are going to have to be at our best."

St Johnstone will be without Frazer Wright.

The Saints defender is serving a two-match ban for violent conduct against Celtic's Mikael Lustig in last week's 4-0 defeat at Parkhead.

Manager Steve Lomas hope to have midfielders Mehdi Abeid (thigh) and Chris Millar (hamstring) back in contention.

Motherwell striker Henrik Ojamaa returns from suspension for the clash.

Manager Stuart McCall is considering giving goalkeeper Lee Hollis a game to stake his claim for next season after Darren Randolph agreed to join Birmingham.

Motherwell have a full squad for the game with the likes of Nicky Law and Steven Saunders looking for farewell appearances.

Simon Ramsden is desperate to see boss McCall remain at Motherwell after committing his own future to the club.

The defender, who joined from Bradford last summer, put pen to paper on a new two-year deal.

His new contract came amid speculation linking McCall with the Sheffield United job, although the manager has stressed he has no great desire to quit Fir Park.

Ramsden would be reluctant to witness the departure of a boss he has had a happy history of working under.

He said: "Personally, it would be a huge loss because this is the second time I've played under the manager.

"He signed me for Bradford and then brought me up here. From my point of view, it would be a massive loss.

"I'm sure for the club and the fans it would be exactly the same, after what he has done over the last few seasons. We'll all be hoping that he stays."


PA

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