Kevin James has admitted that the next
two games are important to get the title challenge on track although he
also wants to win back the fans after what he described as undeserved
booing following the first-half against County. In today's Courier, the
Saints skipper said, "The next two games are massive because a
couple of victories will get the fans back on our side. We were booed at
half-time against Ross County and I thought it was undeserved. Dont
get me wrong, we didnt play well and we were losing but weve
got a lot of young boys in the team. I can understand the frustrations
because we werent happy ourselves but the fans need to get behind
the team at home, the way they do away. There is a lot of expectation
around the place but we have more than delivered compared to last season.
Its not the end for us and we want to keep progressing and be top of
the league but were seven points behind the leaders at New Year and
I think thats the progress which was required when the manager was
brought in. To go from third bottom to third in the space of four or five
months is impressive and there is still so much of the season to go
meaning its far from over. "
"Teams are cutting each others throats at the moment and if we can turn some of our draws into wins we can take advantage. Theres no better time to start than against Airdrie so we can kick on into the new year."
Owen Coyle meanwhile has said yesterday's decision to release Scott Paterson and Keyring was the hardest he's had to make in his career. Kieran was on fire in pre-season but he has had various knocks. He has actually been fit for the last few weeks but the team has been doing quite well and he was unable to force his way back in. But I have no doubt he will be picked up quickly by another club. Knowing Scott, he is mentally tough and he can get over this latest setback. We have assured him the club will give him our support and access to treatment as he continues his rehab. He deserves a change of fortune and isnt being cut adrift." .
6pm - Another shambles saw us lose 2-1 to Airdrie despite Paul Sheerin giving us the lead from the penalty spot. And just to add to the fun afternoon that sees us drop to fourth in the league, Simon Mensing spoiled a decent performance with a red card in injury time.
30th - The clearout began today with Saints announcing that
Kieran McAnespie(right) and
Scott Paterson were not being offered
new deals. Keyring leaves Saints for
the second time with injuries since the start of the season limiting his
chances to impress Owen Coyle.
Scott Paterson's departure is less of
a surprise with the defenders injury at Dens always likely to see him
ruled out of any future involvement at Saints. Speaking of the decision,
Owen Coyle said on the Official Site,
"Its very disappointing for all parties. They are smashing
lads with plenty to offer when fit but I simply cant afford to have
two players on the books who may not be able to make a contribution in the
second half of the season. Of course, they go with the best wishes of
everyone at the Club."
Meanwhile Simon Mensing and Ryan Stevenson are still major doubts for tomorrow and it looks like David Hannah is set to join them on the missing list as the problems mount for the trip to Airdrie
December 29th - Little real news from Saints. A closed doors game against Raith yesterday saw a fringe side get a run out and draw 3-3 with Raith Rovers with Owen Coyle scoring twice. Looking ahead to Saturday's encounter and Simon Mensing is still a doubt as is Ryan Stevenson with the latter suffering from a hip injury.
December 27th - No festive cheer from Owen Coyle today in the aftermath of yesterday's disappointing performance. He told the Courier, "The boys came in on Christmas Day for training and I told them that the last thing you want to do when you make a sacrifice like that is to go out and not deliver. If truth be told we were shocking in the first half and their goal was a really, really poor one for us to lose. We were at home and should have taken the initiative but for 45 minutes we didnt do that. I felt in the second we forced the play. We werent fluent with our passing but we dominated in terms of territory. I cant fault the players effort and application in the second half but we had to settle for a point."
December 26th -
The Cat reckons that the leaders can
still be caught. He told the Courier, "The important thing is for
everyone to be more consistent so that we can get some more results and
make some kind of indent in St Mirrens lead at the top. I still
believe they are catchable. We could have gone 12 points behind them not
so long ago, but we have clawed back a few points. We are undefeated in
our last five games and we are high in confidence, but we must continue to
get wins and not draws in order to close the gap."
Confirmation ahead of this afternoon's Ross County game that Simon Mensing is out with an ankle knock and joins Ryan McCann in the injury ward. That means Steven Anderson and Neil Janczyk are likely to be in the starting lineup with Willie Dyer and Stephen Doris added to the squad.
6.30pm - Jason Scotland spared the blushes after a poor performance in today's 1-1 draw with Ross County with the equaliser which is all the more disappointing given results elsewhere went our way. Still we're back to second place so there is hope.
December 24th - According to the Courier, Owen Coyle is looking for a much improved performance against Ross County on Boxing Day after the poor show at Dingwall last month. The Saints manager said, "We were terrible in the first half. We were just off the pace that day and on Monday we must ensure that we start the game in the right manner. We gave a better account of ourselves in the second half, and we must give the same level of performance we displayed in that second period.". Saints had a day off yesterday but the players will be in today and tomorrow for light training sessions ahead of the 2pm kick-off on Monday. Owen said, "This is a very important match for us. Although its Christmas, well not be taking it easy. Well be doing all the normal things wed do the day before a match. Thats one of the sacrifices professional footballers have to make. We have to be focused on taking full points from this game."
December 23rd- After another
couple of quiet days, the bad news is continuing.
Ryan McCann has been confirmed as being
out for four to six weeks with ligament trouble. And while
Darren Sheridan can play on Monday
against Ross County, Simon Mensing is
apparently already a doubt with an ankle knock.
It means that Kevin Fotheringham, Mark Campbell and Kieran McAnespie are all likely to come into the squad for Monday's game. Owen Coyle told the Courier, "They have all been training for a couple of weeks but there havent been many bounce games for them to play in during that time. Ideally, we would like to see them get more match action but the way things are just now everybody will be under consideration for Monday."
December 20th- It was bad news
for Saints today with Ryan McCann set
to be out for a while after limping off at Love Street. He's suspected of
having medial ligament damage ruling him out for a while. Also set to miss
out after Monday's Ross County game is Darren
Sheridan. He's managed to pick up enough points to earn a suspension
and will be out for the league encounters against Airdrie, the Scum and
Clyde although he can play in the cup.Speaking on the Official Saints
Site, Owen Coyle said, "It's
a blow to lose these guys. Darren,
obviously, has been very influential this season and we'll miss him but we
have others who can come in an show me that they deserve their chance. I'm
disappointed for Ryan who has been very patient this season considering he
has not been a regular starter in my teams."
Elsewhere and Owen has asked for more protection for Jason Scotland. He said, "We all like to see entertainers in football and he's the sort who lights up games with individual brilliance. He brings excitement to games. But in recent weeks I don't think he has been getting the protection he deserves. Defenders are coming through the back of him and trying to stop him playing and what worries me is that they are getting away with it. They tell me that sort of challenge is banned nowadays but sometimes I wonder. He's a brave player who is terrific at ball retention but sometimes we have to look to refs for protection."
December 19th- Skipper
Kevin James paid tribute to
The Cat in today's Courier following
the keepers heroics at Love St. He said, "To be honest we are
happy with a draw, although the manager might not like me for saying that.
We had a few chances but St Mirren had the lions share and Kevin
kept us in it. To be honest, he got me out of a hole a couple of times
because I gave them a few opportunities with bad passes and poor headers.
I am disappointed with my own performance. I set myself high standards and
I should have dealt with their long balls much better instead of relying
on The Cat. Kevin started
the season for us then lost his place, but he has won it back and been
superb since. I had a word with him in the dressing room and just told him
that was pay back for all the unlucky goals he has lost this seasonand
there have been a few."
"We have to look at the positive aspects because the gap has not grown and seven points is definitely within reach. From a neutrals point of view it was played like a cup tie, so I expect it was a good game to watch and, all in all, it is not a bad one for us"
Owen Coyle wasn't hanging about with his criticism after the game though. "I slaughtered Darren Sheridan after the game for his set-piece delivery. He has been superb for us all season and he is usually spot on, but we didnt make good use of even one corner. That was very disappointing. Kevin Cuthbert was superb for us and if our final ball had been a bit better we would have caused them more serious problems than we did. It was a great game. With the amount of chances there were for both sides it was amazing it finished 0-0."
17th - Looks like being the same lineup at Love Street today with
Kevin James set to play with a bandage
on his head wound. Darren Sheridan
believes we can win this one despite St Midden being unbeaten at home for
the whole of 2005. He told the Courier, "St Mirren had been doing
very well but that was a bad result for them at the weekend. Wed
hoped that they might draw at Dundee but we didnt expect them to
lose, and certainly not by four. They have been a very well- organised
side so far. Theyve been solid and nicked results, scoring late
goals in a few games. This is their first blip and we have to try to
capitalise on it. They havent had a bad run yet and with a bit of
luck this will be it coming up now. Dundee showed last week that if you
can get at them you can beat them and thats exactly what well
be looking to do. If we can win well be just four points behind
going into the Christmas period, which is a tough spell for every team in
7pm- No goals in the end but a cracking game with Kevin Cuthbert(right) in excellent form as we drew 0-0 at Love St. And no red cards!!! Elsewhere Accies beat County 2-1 to leapfrog us into 2nd place
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
December 16th -
Owen Coyle is expecting a tough time
tomorrow and told the Courier, "I watched the highlights of St
Mirrens game last weekend and theres no chance they are
hitting the skids. On the face of it, Dundee gave them a going over.
However, St Mirren had a solid penalty claim denied at 1-0, Stewart Keanwho
is usually deadlymissed two great chances and Kelvin Jack made some
unbelievable saves. Watching the game on TV simply reinforced my belief
that this has the potential to be a really tough fixture for us. But I can
also see it being a very exciting one. I only know one way to play
football, which is to go and try and win, and I have every confidence in
the lads we have at the back to do their jobs. St Mirren are where they
are on merit, but this is an opportunity for us to blow the whole thing
wide open again and well give it a real go."
Don't expect too many changes to the lineup with no new injury worries for Saints (just for a change). Kevin James got 6 stitches in his head wound last weekend but is available.
December 14th - The reserves won
through comfortably to the finals of the Reserve League Cup last night. A
3-0 win over East Fife means they now travel to Gretna for the semi. Goals
came from Kevin Fotheringham,
Stephen Dobbie and
11pm - Sad news tonight for Saints fans everywhere as playing legend Drew Rutherford passed away after a brave battle against cancer. His achievements and records with Saints will live on for a long time, but that's little comfort just now. Our commiserations and thoughts are with his family.
13th - Bad news today for David
Hannah who has missed out on the Montrose job.
Meanwhile tonight's reserve match will see some a strong Saints side with some of the subs from Saturday and fringe players getting a run out. As for Kevin James(right), Owen Coyle told the Courier he's fine. He said, "Kevin is fine now and he could have gone out again for the second half. It was my decision to take him off as a precaution."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
December 12th -
Goran Stanic reckons the result from
Dens makes this weekend's trip to Paisley an even bigger game for Saints.
He told the Courier, "We heard from the supporters that St Mirren
were losing at Dundee and we now have what will be one of the biggest
games of the season next week. Its a long season but we know we have
to get another good result to close the gap and we will be looking to win
the match. The most important thing against Queen of the South was getting
the three points because in our last two home games we have only drawn. We
dominated the match for 90 minutes and we deserved to win it. "
5.30pm - Saints are set to have a trialist keeper between the sticks for the reserve match against East Fife tomorrow withMark Paston suffering from a shoulder injury. Elsewhere and it seems that of the two Poles, Saints will only be pursuing their interest in midfielder Marcin Smolinski with striker Dariusz Zjawinsk not a requirement at this time.
December 11th - It's been
revealed that Kevin James was suffering
from slight concussion yesterday after his head knock hence his
replacement at half-time. But of the result, Owen
Coyle told the Official Site, "I stressed to everyone
before the game today that the result was paramount and I thought the
players were very focussed in that respect. We certainly didnt play
as well as we are capable of doing but over the piece Im delighted."
As for the cup draw against Gretna (hey look we'll be the underdogs again), he said, "Its a cliché but all you can ask for is home advantage and we have got that. It goes without saying that given Gretnas incredible record of games undefeated that we will have to approach this very professionally to have a chance of progressing."
December 10th - Speaking to the
Courier ahead of today's game, Owen Coyle
has spoken of the plans for the transfer window in the New Year. He said,
"The transfer window gives me a chance to freshen things up and
there are some people who may find they are no longer here in a couple of
months time. Depending on what funds are available I would like to
bring in a few players. I know the positions and the people I want, it all
depends on what the club can make available. I have to say at this point
that the chairman has given me fantastic backing so far. He is as
desperate for success as I am and has done everything he can to make
things easier for me." - obviously with players coming in, it's
more than likely there will be some departures.
Away from the domestic scene though and Jason Scotland looks set to guarantee his honorary Scots status come next summer with Trinidad and Tobago drawn against Ingerlund in the World Cup group stages (or if you're being a Motson, "having the privelige to play against England").
Back to today though and Goran Stanic and a couple of other "minor concerns" will be given late fitness tests before the manager decides on the lineup to face Jobbie McCalls mob.
6.30pm - Jason Scotland was on target along with Steven Milne in a 2-1 win over QoS this afternoon which, thanks to County slipping up at home sees us go to 2nd on goal difference and just as importantly close the gap on that Paisley mob who collapsed to a 4-0 defeat at Dens.
Meanwhile the Scottish Cup has at least seen us get a home draw with the 3rd round match on Jan 7th. Gretna will be the visitors in whats sure to be a tough game.
9th - After a pretty quiet week news-wise, it's back to action
tomorrow with a home match against the Doonhamers and the first chance to
shout abuse at Jobbie McCall since his days at Tannadump. More importantly
though we need the three points to hopefully gain some ground on the
Midden who are making the trip to Dens. Despite winning two out of two so
far, Owen Coyle isn't taking it lightly.
He told the Official Saints site, "If we play to our maximum then
we should win this game but as always it's down to both the individual and
collective approach. If we pass and move the ball as fluently as we can
then we'll give any team problems.I'm looking forward to seeing Ian McCall
tomorrow. I have a lot to thank him for in terms of my development as a
coach because he gave me opportunities at Airdrie, Falkirk and Dundee
United but it would be nice to sit down with him after the game for a chat
knowing the three points were staying in Perth!"
Goran Stanic(right) trained for the first time this week and if he's passed fit he'll return to the left-back slot in place of Willie Dyer but the manager isn't worried about that.
Meanwhile Paul Sheerin is looking to continue his run of scoring form."I'm pleased I've started to contribute some goals this season - a couple of two-goals games gave me confidence and then I've managed to add others such as last week at Brechin.Having Darren Sheridan behind me gives us a bit more security and it allows me the freedom to go up the park a bit more often than I was doing a year ago when we on the back foot a wee bit in a lot of games. It was a real positive result at Brechin last week and we have to go out tomorrow and do the same sort of job against Queens. We were so disappointed to drop daft points in recent home games that weve dominated and we must make sure that does not happen tomorrow."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
Owen Coyle was happy with the win on
Saturday and told the Courier, "This was a great effort. This has
got us back to our winning ways. Its al- ways difficult coming here.
We started slowly and should have scored from a couple of early chances,
and to be fair Hillcoat had a couple of good saves. But we stuck in there
and the goals were always going to come. Jason scored a fantastic goal. We
know what he is capable of and he showed it today. He is a special talent
but I have emphasised to him that he needs to work hard as well. He can go
to the World Cup but he can only do that on the back of his performances
for St Johnstone. We are paying his wages and I expect the full
commitment. We started the second half well, scoring another two very good
goals, but for a ten-minute spell Brechin put a lot of pressure on us. It
was a great goal from Britton from a set piece. All credit to Brechin.
They are fighting for their lives and you can see that. But for 75 minutes
I was very pleased with the game."
Meanwhile the two Polish trialists headed home yesterday with the manager wanting another look at them after their season finishes in a week before making any commitment.
December 3rd - Not much change
to the squad for the trip to Brechin with Kevin
Rutkiewicz passed fit after his illness and
John Henry back in the squad.Kevin
James is expecting a tough time of it though. Celebrating his 30th
birthday today, the Saints skipper told the Courier "Brechin need
a win to get themselves back in contention. They know their best chances
of winning games is at home, thats the way theyll have based
their season, on picking points up at home and maybe getting the odd point
away. Theyll be desperate to get off the mark. Glebe Park is a
cup-tie park where the football might not be the best, but were
going to have to fight for every ball and until you win the battle you
might not get the chance to play football. Its imperative that we
win not only this one but our next three or four games as well. I still
think theres a realistic chance of catching up on St Mirren but our
last two results havent been good enough. We need results, not
performances, albeit a performance would be good. "
Unfortunately yours truly is suffering from a nice wee combination of the flu and an ear infection which makes the attractions of Montrose railway station and the bus to Brechin just a tad too crap to make the journey worthwhile. So expect a cracking win from the boys as they feel under no pressure to impress the Temple.
6pm -See what did I tell you? It was an easy win in the end for Saints as we beat Brechin 4-1. Jason Scotland scored twice and one each from Paul Sheerin and Ryan Stevenson saw us through despite Mekonesque Gerry Britton getting one for the home side. Results elsewhere saw St Midden post an impressive 4-0 win at Dingwall but Accies dropped 2 points to Clyde letting us into 3rd spot.
December 2nd - Not much news
this morning ahead of tomorrow's trip to Brechin.
David Hannah has been linked with the
vacant Montrose job.
Meanwhile the 2 Polish trialists are here until Sunday and the manager has promised a decision by then.
1st - Owen Coyle(right) seems to
be optimistic enough about the two Polish trialists. He spoke to the
Courier of the midfielder and striker saying, "They both did well
in the game and we will have to have a look for the rest of the week at
whether we want to make a move for them. I now have to decide if
they are better than what we have at the club as they would be able to
come in on loan when their season closes down .". And the two
trialists have been named as 21-yr old midfielder Marcin Smolinski
and 19-yr old striker Dariusz Zjawinsk from Legia Warsaw. Both
are contracted to the Polish side until 2009 so any move will be a loan
deal at best.
Meanwhile Tuesday's closed doors game saw Kevin Fotheringham, John Henry, Neil Janczyk and Simon Mensing all come through unscathed.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
Top Of News
November 30th - Saints caught us
all out with a sneaky announcement on the Official Site last night. With
the Reserve League Cup tie against East Fife postponed, there was a "hastily
arranged" closed doors game against unnamed opposition with two
Polish trialists taking part. A midfielder and striker have been training
at the club this week and the latter scored all the goals in Saints 3-0
win. Owen told the Official Site, "Ive
used my contacts in the game to bring these two lads to Perth for the week
and Im delighted with the showing of the boys tonight. The big lad
took all his goals well. Over the remainder of this week I now have to
decide if they are better than what we have at the club. They both play
for a top Polish club but would be able to come on loan to us in January
as their season closes down."
Kevin Fotheringham continued his comeback but Kieran McAnespie is out with the flu.
November 28th -
Paul Sheerin has admitted that
Saturday's display wasn't good enough. He told the Courier, "It
was very frustratingthey set their stall out and made it very
difficult after they got the goal to break them down. Its tough when
teams come and sit in and defend as well as they did and we have to use a
bit more guile against teams that are going to do that. We lacked a bit of
width to get in behind them at times (erm and whose job was that?)
and get decent quality crosses in to give the strikers a good chance.
We still aspire to winning the title but we are making it difficult for
Still if you want a wee bit of consolation Stranraer manager Neil Watt said that we're "the most entertaining side in the Division".
November 27th - It's the usual post-match depression today with Owen commenting on the Official Site, "We knew Stranraer would make it difficult for us and we weren't wrong. They played a style which suited them and scored with their only attack of the half but we defended it poorly. I told the players at half-time to show some character and to take balls into the telling areas of the park and to be fair they responded but we failed to bury the chances that were created. If we had scored two goals today it would still only have been a small percentage of the chances we created. It feels like a defeat to be honest but there's no point in feeling sorry for ourselves. I can't fault the effort but we have to get back on the training ground and improve the quality of what we are doing in the areas of the park that matter.".
26th - A wee piece of non-team news first with Saints announcing
yesterday that the long-awaited away tops will be launched on Thursday Dec
1st with Owen Coyle and the walking
wounded at Asda's in Perth for a 4pm launch. Details of ordering one
through the good ole Royal Mail are available on the
Official Saints Site.
Looking ahead to today's fun and games and Owen could reluctantly line up from the start today. Speaking in the Courier, he said, "I think weve got some good strikers at the club and there has been no need for me to play a massive part yet, but when needs must Ill have no hesitation. Weve got Peter MacDonald out injured long term and Stevie Milne got injured early in the game last week and hes our top scorer with a goal every other game. We now have Stephen Dobbie struggling with a hamstring which just leaves Jason Scotland so there are very few options left to me. Ive been taking part in training and playing bounce games as well as the game against Arbroath in midweek so Im ready, but its fair to say if we had everyone fit I wouldnt be in contention. Its a mentality thing. Ive done it with Falkirk and others have done it before without any problem. And Ive got good back up on the bench in Jim Weir and Atholl Henderson so it should have no effect whatsoever on how I approach the game. Im not going to complain about injuriesIve been in football long enough to know its part of life and, while its frustrating to a point, you just get on with it. Whoever comes in to plug the gapsincluding the young players who will be included in the next few weekshas to show they are good enough to stay in the team. ". Meanwhile there's no word on Kevin James and Kevin Rutkiewicz who are suffering from a flu-like virus and are doubts for today.
7pm - Saints dominated again but had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw with Stranraer with Paul Sheerin getting the equaliser for Saints late on. At least there was one bright spark with Stephen Doris(right) making his debut off the bench late on.
November 25th - Plague time at McDiarmid again with Stephen Dobbie getting one of those infectious hamstring strains and Kevin James and Kevin Rutkiewicz both suffering from a viral infection. Owen Coyle still has his broken toes but could turn out - he told the Courier, "John Henry is very doubtful for Saturday (ankle) whilst Stephen Dobbie picked up his injury at training. And, with both our central defenders sick, we have had healthier days at McDiarmid! Its not ideal for me to play due to the lack of games Ive had, but needs must. We will try a little work with Stevie Milne but I would still rate his chances of playing on Saturday as slight. And with this injury to Stephen Dobbie I may well have to get into the action myself, but I dont have any fears about it ."
November 24th - Latest injury
news from the Official Site is that the boys managed a training session
today although snow has hit Perth. Scott
Paterson is in for surgery tomorrow and Savo
has rested his strain and "may be able to play some part at the
weekend". John Henry is in a
similar position and is an outside bet for a squad place. Both
Keyring came through the match at
Arbroath unscathed and just need to build up their match fitness.
As for the rest, Nick Summersgil said, "Peter MacDonald should begin some increased activity next week and I've set a target of a January return to some sort of action. Mark Campbell saw a specialist recently about his Achilles injury and was told to immobilise it for a couple of weeks so I'll be looking to start some sort of work with him next week to see if that has done the trick."
November 22nd - The good news is
that last night's Forfarshire Cup tie at Arbroath saw both
Kieran McAnespie and
Kevin Fotheringham make their
comeback from injury. Unfortunately it was as part of a strong Saints side
that lost 2-1 to the hosts with Owen Coyle
getting our goal.
Elsewhere it's been confirmed Savo has a hamstring strain and the manager said, "We will need to monitor the injury as the week goes on."
21st - Despite dropping two points at the weekend,
Stephen Dobbie doesn't think the title
race is over yet. He told the Courier, "Its not over by a
long shot. If St Mirren win their game in hand they will be 10 points
ahead, but weve got a team here that can turn it around. Its
not even Christmas yet, so hopefully we can keep battling away and put
together a couple of results. We missed some chances, but overall I
thought we did enough to win. The keeper saved my effort, but on another
day it might have gone in. When I beat my second man I tried to get it on
target but it was a good save by the keeper."
Owen Coyle meanwhile is still smarting after the penalty claims were denied. He said, "I always go by players reactions regarding penalties and this week we were looking for it. Referees have a difficult job, but we had five good goalscoring opportunities to win the game. It was disappointing because we were looking to get the three points to cut the gap at the top. But I thought we did enough in the second half to merit the win."
There's mixed reports on Savo's injury with the Courier saying it's a hamstring pull but other reports suggesting the striker was suffering from the flu-like virus.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
November 20th - For anyone interested in the forums for Saints fans the new replacement for Blue Heaven is Saintschat - it's moderated and available now for you to register at.
November 19th -
Savo is expecting a tough game today.
Speaking in the Courier, he said, "They may have been put
together from scratch at the start of the season but they have a good mix
of experienced and younger players, with a fine work ethic. I managed to
put us ahead in that last match against them but we were hanging on in the
end and were relieved to be heading home with the three points. Still, we
need to make up ground on St Mirren as we are now eight points behind
them. We face Stranraer, Brechin, then Queen of the South after this so we
have a chance to put a wee run together. I know there are no walkovers in
this league but these are games we should be looking to win. After we lost
up at Ross County we then went on to defeat Airdrie and thought we could
build from there. However, we then got beaten by Dundee so we really need
to string some wins together and I hope that can start against Clyde."
Saints have confirmed that Jason Scotland is back in Scotland (unlike a certain Dundee keeper!) and despite wanting to give him a rest, Owen Coyle said, "Numbers being as they are we may be forced to give Jason a game despite him being tired as a result of all the travelling". Kevin James and Kevin Cuthbert both face late fitness tests but John Henry is out.
7pm - The first league game we've failed to score in today but a 0-0 draw didn't really reflect the play with Saints yet again suffering from a poor refereeing decision, something that annoyed Owen Coyle who picked up a booking for letting the referee know that. Elsewhere wins for Accies and Ross County (cue sympathy nanosecond for the Scum) means that we've slipped back to 4th. But on the bright side at least we didn't pick up any more major injuries!
November 18th - World Cup hero
Jason Scotland was told to skip the
post-match celebrations and public reception back in Trinidad to get back
to McDiarmid. Owen Coyle said, "I
phoned Jason just after the final whistle and congratulated him. I told
him we were all delighted and proud of him and he was as high as a kite.
It is a good boost for the club that a St Johnstone player will be in
Germany next summer. But the very fact that we pay his wages means we need
him back here ahead of the Clyde match. Their prime minister has asked
them all to go back to Trinidad to attend a reception and I can understand
their euphoria at having reached the World Cup for the first time. But we
need Jason here and I have told him to come back."
On the injury side, looking ahead to tomorrow's game, Kevin James and Kevin Cuthbert might train today but the manager cautioned, "They have a chance but it is no more than that."
17th - Some good news first for a change. Despite not getting off
the bench in Bahrain, his spiritual presence meant that
Jason Scotland saw Trinidad get a 1-0
win and qualify for the World Cup. Well at least it gives us someone to
support next year.
Meanwhile Owen Coyle is still talking up our rivals instead of Saints chances. With the Paisley junkies moving 8 points clear of Saints, the manager told the Courier, "I fully expected St Mirren to win at Brechin and all credit to them for being top of the league with the lead they have. They are there on merit and obviously wed all love to be in their position. There is still a very long way to go, though, and I know that there is a lot more to come from us. "
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
November 16th -
Owen Coyle has spoken of the bad news re
Scott Paterson. He told the Courier,
"Scott has had an horrendous time with injuries over the last few
seasons and Im absolutely gutted for him and for the football club.
He was looking like a really good player for us. The injury was just one
of those freak accidents that can happen in football and was totally
unconnected to any previous injury he had. Ive got to say that when
it happened I thought it could be a career-threatening injury, so at least
that isnt the case and he can look at getting back in around two
months hopefully. Scotts had a lot of kicks in the teeth during his
career and he will definitely bounce back from this. He certainly wont
be feeling sorry for himself. "
John Henry has already been ruled out of this weekend's game against Clyde.
15th - The latest on the injuries is slightly better reading, with
time the big healer as always. According to the Courier,
Owen Coyle said, "The swelling
on Scotts knee is so bad that
we thought it best to leave it another day before checking it out. We are
hopeful that there is no ligament damage but cant say that for sure
just yet. Kevins knee has been
moving more freely and John seems to
have a sprain rather than ligament trouble but, again, we will have to
wait before diagnosing their injuries. "
Kevin James(right) looks set to recover from his knee knock and return to the team for the Clyde game this weekend.
5.30pm - It's been confirmed that Scott Paterson will need an operation on his knee and will be out for 3 months. This will take him past the end of his current deal with Saints, and it's hard to see how he'll be allowed to continue at the club. Some better news with Kevin Cuthbert apparently in with a chance of resuming training on Thursday.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
November 14th -Not much more in
the way of updates from the treatment room with
Owen Coyle set to hopefully find out
more about Saturday's wounded today. The gaffer told the Courier, "I
have not known anything like this. We already had a long list of injured
players and to lose even more is just so frustrating. However, the one
thing that is guaranteed is that we will dig in and come through this. We
will look for the character of the club to shine through and will all be
working doubly hard to get the wins we need. I am sure we can come out of
this even stronger than we were before. There is obviously a lot of
swelling on Scotts knee so we
will have to wait until the morning to get a proper assessment. I just
hope it is not ligament damage because Scott
has suffered more than most with injuries in the past."
As for Kevin Cuthbert he said, "Kevin got a bang on the knee and couldnt put any weight on it so he had to come off. But I hope it is not any worse than a knock.". John Henry is set to be out for a couple of weeks as well after damaging ankle ligaments.
November 12th - With even that
most unbiased of Juteopolitan commentators Dick Donnelly admitting
it wasn't a penalty yesterday, expect the fallout from Dens to continue
for a while with Owen Coyle possibly
heading for trouble after his post-match comments. He said, "I've
been playing the game long enough and have always been under the
impression that it is the ball you are meant to play first which is
exactly what happened here. I can only describe the game as bizarre. We
should have had the game out of their reach in the first five minutes when
we could have been three or four up. say luck evens itself out, that being
the case were due a large portion very soon"
Meanwhile Jason Scotland played 66 minutes of the first leg of Trinidad and Tobagos World Cup play-off which finished 1-1 before being replaced by Latapy.
November 11th - As you'd expect,
the nature of today's game has fed through to the dressing room. In
today's Courier, skipper Kevin James
said, "Dundee are in a false position, in my opinion, because
they are in a bit of a transitional period and will improve as they come
through that. They have changed managers and it takes time to adjust when
you come down from the SPL. They have a lot of good players with good
experience but things maybe havent gone for them so far. I know
Kernie from our time together at Falkirk when he was coaching us and he is
a fine manager who will be desperate to get them out of their present
situation. I am looking forward to the match, albeit they will make it
very tough for us, regardless of their position in the table. We may be
sitting second top in the league but we wont be complacent at all.
We want to put as much distance between us and them, because we still see
them as potential rivals. The newer signings, like me, have all been told
by (first team coach) Jim Weir about the
local rivalry and I guess it is to be expected because Dundee are the
closest club to us geographically. We will need to win the individual
battles first and foremost and then, hopefully, our flair players can
assert themselves. Obviously, we would like to win the game by playing
silky soccer but, Ill tell you what, we will take the three points
any way we can get them."
The captain should be ok to play today despite his knee injury from last weekend limiting training. As for the rest of the side, Owen Coyle said, "This is the one everybody at the club wants to be involved in. Dundee have some good players so it will be a test for us but our focus is on St Johnstone and we know that if we are firing on all cylinders then we can win this game. It is important that we dont get caught up in the derby atmosphere but stick to what we are good at, that is passing the ball about.". Of the injury list, the manager went on, "Im definitely going to be without seven or eight on that list. It looks like Ill have to strip and be in the 16, despite my broken toe. On the plus side, Darren Sheridan and Steven Anderson are both fit and will come into contention. Also, Savo and John Henry have now returned to training. "
5pm - A nightmare of an afternoon saw us go down 2-1 at Dens. As if that wasn't bad enough (and let's hear it for the sporting behaviour of the players, officials and knuckle-dragging supporters of the Scum) both Scott Paterson and more worryingly Kevin Cuthbert were stretchered off during a hectic 90 minutes witnessed by one of the biggest Saints supports in a while. In the end we've dropped to 3rd but there will be a lot of grudges to settle after this one.
10th - There's a good chance Saints might have a lucky mascot at
Dens tomorrow. Ex-Saintee Nick
Dasovic(right) was at McDiarmid training yesterday. He's over as
coach of the Canadian U-18 squad. After his side played a few games in
England, he's hung around to look up some old friends including that bloke
at Sheff Wed and Saints. After helping out at training yesterday, he's
looking forward to tomorrow's game and told the Courier, "Ive
had four weeks on the road and seen a lot of matches, the last being
Manchester United against Chelsea, but this derby with Dundee will be even
more important! Ive got great memories of this match, especially the
one in which we beat Dundee and qualified for the UEFA Cup. I can still
remember an unbelievable save Alan Main made from James Grady that
afternoon. I still speak to Alan Kernaghan and Billy Kirkwood from time to
time, and with Dundee having a hard time just now this is a huge game for
them, but there will be no divided loyalties. St Johnstone are my team and
Im really hoping they win ". As for the current Saints
line-up, the veteran of THAT win said,
"I think theyve got some really good players and the best
thing about it is the atmosphere in the squad. Owen has got them bouncing
which is great to see. The players feed off his enthusiasm. Every season I
hope it will be the one when Saints get promoted back to the SPL. I think
they have a real chance this time around. Obviously I havent seen
the other teams in the league but Saints have got a good mixture of
experience and youth. When I look back on our championship-winning season
we had players peaking in their late 20s and good youngsters like Callum
Davidson, Danny Griffin and Philip Scott. I played in France and Sweden
but when Im asked by anybody which club is my favourite, I always
say St Johnstone. Its the club I support and look out for on the
internet every day. My best football memories are from my time here."
And looking ahead to the big game, Owen Coyle has declared himself fit. Whether it's him or Stephen Dobbie who partners Savo up front remains to be seen with the latter doing some light training yesterday after his flu bug. John Henry managed a session as well although neither are 100% fit. Kevin James has recovered but Rustybitz and Darren Sheridan are both doubts.
November 8th - The injury
problems are mounting ahead of the derby at the weekend.
Simon Mensing starts the first of a
two-game ban. Added to that John Henry
and Steven Milne are suffering from flu
while Kevin James and
Rustybitz picked up minor knocks at the
Owen Coyle also missed training with his broken toe and said in the Courier, "Hopefully we can have James, Rutkiewicz and Sheridan fit for Saturday but its too early to say. Theres no point in moaning and we will monitor the situation through the week and hope for the best ."
7th - Ryan Stevenson(right)
has told the Courier today that he's planning to follow teammate
Jason Scotland in the World Cup. He
said, "I, for one, hope he gets to the finals as I plan on going
to Germany on my holidays to watch him. If Trinidad get there, there will
be a few of the lads going out to the finals. I guess its the only
way Scotland will be there! Jason is a mate as well as a
team-mate and what an achievement it would be for a player from the
Scottish first division to be at the World Cup. The exciting thing is that
they have a great chance to get past Bahrain as they have a lot of good
players. If they reach Germany I think a lot of guys from this country
will be supporting them because there are a few Trinidad and Tobago
players at Scottish clubs. As well as Jason, you have big Marvin Andrews
at Rangers, wee Russell Latapy at Falkirk, Collin Samuel at Dundee United
and Kelvin Jack at Dundee. So we wish Jason and the lads all the best and
I will be searching through the TV channels to see if I can catch the
He also spoke of his involvement in the winning goal at the weekend. "I saw Jason running in and played the ball back into his pathwe do that kind of thing all the time in training. The gaffer likes his wee matches on the training ground and close play like that helps you break down a well-organised side like Airdrie."
Owen Coyle meanwhile was full of praise for skipper Kevin James. "He was outstanding, even though he took a knock earlier in the match. The big man has a heart like a lion. He was so strong as Airdrie came at us in the second half. Make no mistake, they will take points off other teams this season and sometimes you have to win ugly."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
November 6th - Owen Coyle was happy with the result yesterday. In today's Sunday Mail he said, "I told Jason he wasn't going on the plane unless he was able to play but he was magnificent and his goal was fit to win any game. I was looking for a reaction after last week's defeat and as I expected it was a tight affair and all credit to Airdrie - we knew they wouldn't lie down". As for the matchwinner, Jason Scotland, he was just as happy saying, "It's nice to be going off on international duty with all three points in the bag. We didn't play as well as we can but the win is all that matters and thankfully we got it because we badly needed the points. I was pleased with my goal especially because at the time I had no support up with me so I just decided to have a go and the shot beat the keeper. "
November 5th - Expect a late
decision on the team this afternoon. Darren
Sheridan and Jason Scotland are
still getting treatment but Scott
Paterson is in the frame for a possible return. According to the
Courier, Owen Coyle said, "I am
going to give Darren and Jason until the last possible minute in the hope
that they can make it. Scott Paterson has trained so he will be in my
thoughts. Despite all the injuries, we just have to get on with things.
Regardless of who takes the field I will be looking for a reaction after
last weeks defeat up at Dingwall. I was really only disappointed by
the first 45 minutes, to be truthful, as after that we could have gone on
to win the game. Ill be looking for the characters in my team to
step forward. Airdrie United are a good side. They played well against us
earlier in the season and Im expecting a cracking game."
7pm - Jason Scotland played and scored a cracker as Saints beat Airdrie 1-0 in what was otherwise a pretty poor game with chances at a premium.
November 4th - The minor knocks
at McD seem to be more contagious than first thought. As well as
Steven Anderson and
Owen Coyle himself all missed training
yesterday. The manager told the Courier, "Having so many players
injured is obviously a big concern and to be honest I think we will be
doing well if three from the five make it. However, we will just have to
get on with it."
"Our home form has been pretty goodI believe we have scored eight goals in our last two games at McDiarmid. Obviously continuing that kind of run is a priority but it will not be easy. Airdrie United are a very good team. They work hard and we will have to concentrate for the full 90 minutes if we are to get a result."
Meanwhile Ryan McCann might be called into action after scoring a hat-trick against Stirling in the 6-0 win in Wednesday's closed-doors game.
7pm - One certain start tomorrow though is Kevin Cuthbert(right). He's set to play his 100th first-team game for Saints - not bad for someone who's still only 23. He told the PA , "I've been involved with the club since I was 12 and youth coach Alastair Stevenson brought in a few local boys. It's taken longer than I'd have liked to reach the 100 mark and I've had to be patient. But now that it's here I'm looking forward to the milestone - and hopefully there will be many more appearances to come." He almost quit Saints last spring after a meeting with John Connolly. He said of that time, "It was depressing on and off the field and probably the hardest time I've had here. It made me realise things don't always go to plan. I didn't think my future would be with Saints after that meeting with the previous manager. It was nothing to do with the club. I just left with the impression I was on the way out. But as things turned out Owen Coyle came in and I've been given a chance to stake my claim. There was a lot of talk about various keepers coming in over the summer and it got to the stage I just wanted to find out where the competition would come from this season. Mark Paston came in and fortunately I've had a good run in the team. A lot of guys left the club over the summer but none seem to have gone on to bigger things. I could have thrown in the towel but now I'm glad I rode it out."
Owen Coyle meanwhile held a clear the air meeting after the Dingwall shambles. He said, "It wasn't open to debate. There's no way that could be brushed under the carpet. I've been in dressing rooms where other people were always to blame. But this is an honest group of players and they know they let themselves down after getting into a good position after a run of results. Supporters paid good money for the long trip north and they were let down. But this is another home game and we have scored eight goals in our last two McDiarmid matches. Now we have to come up with a positive reaction and a win." The manager is a doubt after breaking 2 toes in training this week after Kevin James got him. Jason Scotland was set to train today and Darren Sheridan looks like returning to the side. Owen Coyle is expecting a tough game though. "That first 45 in Dingwall was our worst and most lethargic display since the second half at New Broomfield. And we know this is a difficult game coming up. Airdrie are a good side but the bottom line is all about St Johnstone and making sure we produce the passing game and tempo that's essential."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
November 2nd -
Owen Coyle has confirmed that
Jason Scotland will be heading off
after Saturday's game for the World Cup playoffs and will miss the
following weekend's Tayside derby. The Saints manager told the Courier,
"Jason will be available for the Airdrie game, but the Trinidad
and Tobago FA have been in touch and want him to fly out the following
day. It is a big blow for us that he is missing the Tayside derby, but we
will all wish him well."
As for Saturday's game against his old employers he said, "I know the Airdrie boys really well and have a few close friends there. I am well aware how difficult this game may be and they are capable of beating any team in the division on their day. But we have to get back to doing the good things we did in the games here against Brechin and Hamilton."
No real news injury-wise but Darren Sheridan sore foot is apparently responding to treatment.
1st - Darren Sheridan seems to
be the only doubt from the weekend after going off with a foot injury.
Owen Coyle isn't too concerned and said
in the Courier today, "We think Darren should be OK, and although
a couple of other lads have bumps and bruises there is nothing too
Rustybitz(right) managed to shake off his own-goal embarassment yesterday by turning up to training in fancy dress. The defender-turned pirate for Halloween and spoke to the PA about givng away what turned out to be the winner. He said, "I'm sure the gaffer wanted to cut my throat after that one. But I saw it on TV and if I got the chance again I'd still risk an own goal rather than allow a striker a tap in. It was bitterly disappointing and a real contrast to getting my name on the scoresheet for goals at the other end. I got a shout from Simon Mensing and made an effort to clear the cross, but it went past Kevin Cuthbert. It's not nice hearing rival fans chanting your name! I'd told the lads I'd turn up in something special for Halloween. They didn't think I'd follow up on it after what happened in Dingwall. They should know me better than that!" Speaking of the game as a whole, he said, "I cant remember a game when every player except The Cat was so off the pace for 45 minutes. It's the worst we've played. Goran Stanic is probably the best technical player we've got here and his early mistake set the tone for the half. Kevin James and I were at sixes and sevens. It was definitely one to write off. The gaffer was almost lost for words to describe our performance - but he managed it and really tore into us! We certainly improved and might even have won the game. Maybe we were complacent, I don't know. If so that should wake us up. We've had a great run playing the best football in the division." As for his own form he owned up to the slaggings between the players on the park. "Last year that wouldn't have happened. But now we're all so determined to win games we keep onto each other because we're striving to be the best. We know that was nowhere near good enough. But it's behind us and we owe Airdrie one this weekend." Owen was just as scathing in his post-mortem saying, "The first half display beggar's belief. There were some terrible errors and we should have been out of it by half-time. But they showed character and might actually have won. This team can't afford to think they can press a switch and everything will be alright. They have to start games properly and at a high tempo. It was bitterly disappointing because in this division no one can afford to think they can turn up and take the points without effort and application. At least these players are honest and know they let themselves down. It's a dunt, no doubt about it. But we can't feel sorry for ourselves. Now its the reaction we get from them that's important."
Mark Campbell and Scott Paterson are set to play in a closed-doors game at Stirling tomorrow. Neil Janczyk and Kieran McAnespie will be missing with the former having picked up one of those viruses that seem to linker round the changing room.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
Top Of News
29th - Savo(right) is the man in
the spotlight today. Speaking in the Courier of his start at Saints, the
striker said, "Im just glad to be playing regularly again
after the way things turned out at Plymouth. I was on the bench for the
first dozen games last seasonthen just when Id been told I was
going to start for the first time I got injured in training and was out
for four or five months. By the time I came back theyd signed a few
strikers and it wasnt until the last two games I got involved again.
That was my season14 or so appearances but not a single start!
Between being injured and being so far from home Id become pretty
depressed down there. My wife was quite homesick as wellshe was on
the phone about four hours a dayso it made sense to come back to
Scotland and try to get my career going again."
"Ive played 17 games now and scored 10 goalsIm happy with that. The performance of the team over recent games has also been really good. Long may it continue. The three-year contract I got coming here gave me stability. But the move was more about playing regularly, scoring goals and being involved in a team challenging for the title. And its working out at the moment. Draws at Stranraer and here against Dundee and Ross County were disappointing for us earlier in the season. But since then weve picked up and won three in a row. Weve scored a lot of goals thats 11 in three games nowand weve got good defenders as well so its looking promising."
And despite the injury worries to up to 6 unnamed players, the manager thinks there is still a chance he'll field the same team against a County side set to be managed for the only time by Donald Park, with media reports suggesting he'll follow John Robertson out the Victoria Park door at the start of next week.
9pm - Thanks to some defending which is going to haunt the Saints' supporters dreams for a while to come Saints ended up chasing the game before losing 2-1 to Ross County with Jason Scotland the man to give us a glimmer of hope before Rustybitz stuck the ball into his own net. Results elsewhere didn't go our way either with both Accies and that Paisley mob picking up three points and dropping us back to third. Ach but at least the Scum went down 4-0 at Airdrie.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
October 28th - With Saints fans
still on a high after the win on Tuesday night,
Owen Coyle has been trying to calm
things down ahead of tomorrow's big game at Dingwall. In today's Courier,
he said, "The pleasing thing for me is that we have closed right
up. At one stage we were seven points off the pace and the First Division
is a difficult division to play catch-up in. But all we have done is put
ourselves in a challenging position. For my money there are four or five
teams who are capable of being up there at the end of the season. And the
killer instinct we have developed over the last few weeks must be
maintained if we are to achieve what we want to. We are nowhere near the
finished article and the players have to recognise that, and the fact they
cannot just play when it suits."
It's not going to be easy though with injury problems already although the manager's doing the Big Secret Thing ahead of the game. "I dont want to name names but on Monday only six of the 11 who started against Queen of the South were able to train. Ironically I was then able, for the first time this season, to say same again selection-wise for the Hamilton game. But four of the guys concerned are still being hampered by knocks and we have had to take it easy training wise today. "
Meanwhile after losing Robbo as their manager earlier in the week the grapevine suggests that Steve Paterson will be the dour bugger whose set to take over today in time for the game tomorrow.
7pm- No updates on the Dingwall manager situation but Owen Coyle has praised the players in the PA today as well. The manager is planning to try and stick with the same line-up that has seen us get two wins this week. And the manager said in today's PA, "We are getting up a wee head of steam but we have to carry it on. We have set that sort of standard before but this time we got our reward in terms of goals. But we are not good enough to sit back and take winning for granted. We have to graft from the very first minute to the last. We're long enough in the tooth to realise the same focus and mentality is required for each game. It was good to deliver a result like that against close rivals but now we have to take it on from there. I'm hopeful I can announce the same side again tomorrow."
John Henry hasn't trained again after missing out with bruised ribs and he said, "The knee injury was my first serious one and I'd been playing first team football since I was 19. There are definitely players worse off than me. At least I have had a career. But at 33 I still have a hunger for the game. I took a whack on my ribs at Dumfries and it effects the breathing. But I don't want to be seen as injury prone. The banter on the bus back up the road about being hit by a fly is all part of the football humour. It gets you through the bad times. I missed playing so much over the last two years and I was fed up hanging around lounges and stands. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to look forward to a game. County will pose a threat because they were top until a few weeks ago. They have good players but we want to keep our good run going."
26th - Owen Coyle(right) was a
happy man in this morning's Courier. Speaking of last night's slaughter
the Saints manager said, "Were only concerned with
ourselves and some of our play tonight was awesome. Hamilton came here a
point ahead of us so the result was pleasing, but what was even more
pleasing was our passing and the individual performances from my players.
I actually think their keeper had a wonder game and our passing and
movement in the spell before half-time was probably our best of the
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
October 25th -
Kevin James is looking forward to
tonight's game. In the Courier, the Saints skipper said, "These
are the sort of games that you want to be involved in. Im glad weve
got pressure in this type of match at the top of the league rather than
the bottom. Were starting to get consistency in our performances now
and thats six games weve gone undefeated. There has been a
settled line-up and it is now hard for the boys out of the team to force
their way in, like Neil Janczyk who
cant even get on the bench at the moment, which is great for the
manager. It would be great for confidence if we went top of the league
this week but my only concern is being top of the league after our last
game of the season. "
Owen Coyle is expecting to put out the same side if John Henry has recovered from his twinge. The gaffer said, "To get the three points with that level of performance was very pleasing. Ive been looking for the team to put in performances that would make me say same again, and barring injuries that will be the case. I would expect them to come here and try to get all three points, which doesnt happen often at McDiarmid Park. Hopefully that will suit us. Were playing well, scoring goals and we want to continue that. If we play to our maximum Im sure we can beat them again. "
11pm - In the end we had little to worry about as an unchanged side from Saturday went on the rampage with a 5-1 win over Accies which moves us up to 2nd thanks to a late St Midden winner at Stranraer. Saints goals tonight came courtesy of Jason Scotland, Ryan Stevenson, a brace from that man Sheerinho and a candidate for goal of the season from Goran Stanic. Sheer joy.
In other news the Scotland game on November 12th means our match at Dens has had it's kick-off brought forward a couple of hours to 1pm - Just think Coagies for lunch!!!!
October 24th - With QoS still
whinging about the foul on Goran Stanic
for the penalty at the weekend, Sheerinhio
was a happy man in the papers. Scorer of two of Saints goals at the
weekend, he said in today's Retard, "The manager's been nipping
my head for weeks now,telling me it's time I got on the scoresheet. I was
fortunate with the penalty as none of our normal takers were playing, and
their defender should have done better with my second. I've been getting
into scoring positions and the manager said it was only a matter of time
before I scored.I could have had a hat-trick but I'm not greedy. I enjoyed
the game though and there was the moment when the ref dropped his cards.He
mentioned the Gascoigne thing when it happened and I thought about doing
it but thought I might get booked."
Meanwhile, Owen Coyle said, "We were worthy winners. The game should have been out of reach in the first half but I'm delighted with the performance and the result."
22nd - John Henry could be set
for a starting jersey at Dumfries today, after an impressive return from
injury as a sub last weekend, with Dobs
set to drop out as part of a reshuffle. He told the Courier, "The
injury has died down completely now and Ive trained for the last two
weeks and come through a full reserve game so hopefully thats the
end of it. I took a kick in a game at Ochilview and didnt realise
how bad it was until it swelled right up. It was a medial ligament tear
which should only have taken a couple of months to clear up but it was
misdiagnosed and it got worse and worse and I ended up having to have a
big operation on it about a year ago. Thats me just coming back
properly now and Ive managed to come off the bench a few times since
I came here but Im just bursting to start a game. The season is
starting to pass and I have to make an impact and make sure I help us get
up there challenging.". As for the title race this year, he went
on, "St Mirren are doing really well but if we can hit a run of
form and get key players performing and a bit of continuity, hopefully we
shouldnt be far away. But Queen of the South away is a tricky tie
and they will be battling and probably try and turn the game into a bit of
a battle but we will have to match that and then let our football shine
Owen Coyle is expecting a tough game though. He said, "There is no doubt at all Queen of the South will be boosted by their first win of the season against Airdrie last weekend. Queens is a very hard trip for any team and it will be no different for us. It was important we turned our recent good performances into three points against Brechin and it will be the same this time. If we concentrate and keep playing the way are capable of, Im sure well be left with a pleasing outcome.". Goran Stanic is still classed as a doubt.
7.45pm - Another good all-round performance today saw us run out 3-1 winners at QoS with goals from Savo and a brace from man of the moment Paul Sheerin(right). The win sees us move up to 3rd spot in the league with an all-important match against Accies this Tuesday giving us a golden chance to continue the climb.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
21st - The big team news for tomorrow is that
Goran Stanic(right) is still a doubt
having failed to train all week due to a calf strain. Given the other
injury problems on that side of the park it means that
Willie Dyer might be called on to take
over the left-back role.
Owen Coyle told the Courier, "Hopefully, Goran will train because thats his only chance of making Saturdays game. Were also without Mark Campbell, Kieran McAnespie and Scott Paterson, as well as the long-term injured, but we will just have to deal with it accordinglythats why we have squads and theres no point moaning."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
October 19th - There's not much happening at the club just now - but for you fashion victims out there they have announced that the away strip should be out at the end of this month / start of November. So we'll be getting plenty of wear out of them then?
October 17th -Kevin
James was a happy man after the weekend win. He told the Courier,
"Scoring was great for me as it has been a long time coming. The
gaffer has been giving me a fair bit of stick for not getting goals this
season and that has been fair enough as I probably should be making more
of a scoring contribution. I am sure it will not take too long before he
is back on my case but it was certainly good to get off the mark. It was
hard work and we would have to say that Brechin City played very well.
They basically played to hit us on the counter-attack and have got players
that can do that very effectively. We blew them away in the first 10 or 15
minutes but they equalised and when we went in for half-time at 1-1 we got
a right rollicking from the manager. He told us to keep being patient but
said we needed to up the tempo and when we did get the second and third it
was pretty comfortable."
As for the manager, he commented, "Craig Nelson had a string of good saves prior to our second and I was not panicking as I always thought the goal was coming. We worked hard and had to be patient but we certainly deserved the victory."
October 15th -
Savo reckons there won't be a repeat of
the lack of goals/shots ratio that we saw at Stranraer. Speaking in the
Courier he said, "The Stranraer game was one of our better
performances. Its a game we should have won by a big margin.
Now were learning from our mistakes and taking our chances. Getting
an early goal would be ideal, but patience could be important.".
As for renewing his striking partnership with
Dobs he said, "We started
brilliantly. I think we scored in every game out of our first five. He
likes the ball into his feet and I like to run in behind defenders, so we
work well together. Hopefully the partnership will blossom again.
Obviously there is Jason Scotland as
well, and the manager has been looking sharp in training. I think there
are still a lot of goals left in him "
Jason Scotland was due back from international duty yesterday and will start assuming he's not too shagged out. David Hannah seems set to missout but Rustybitz should play.
For Brechin they've got plenty of injuries/suspensions but that hasn't stopped Matt Lucas lookalike Gary "Emperor Minging" Bollan from threatening to dent the sacred turf today.
7pm - In the end it was a well-deserved 3-1 win for Saints with goals from Ryan Stevenson, Kevin James and Savo in what was at times a bad-tempered affair. Results elsewhere actually went our way for a change and we've moved ahead of the Scum.
14th - First up and confirmation that
Jason Scotland is still in with a
chance of being the only Saintee in the World Cup Finals as Trinidad and
Tobago progressed this week to a play-off against Bahrain. The bad news is
that it means the Saints striker will miss the trip to Dens on Saturday
November 12th to play in these games.
Looking ahead to tomorrow and Stephen Dobbie(right) will be partnering Steven Milne up front in place of the injured Peaso. Owen Coyle's warned the Dobster to start improving though saying, "In simple terms I've warned Stephen if he doesn't take this opportunity then I will. I'll be in the weekend squad but Stephen will start. He and Steven Milne had a terrific start to the season and I'm confident they will get goals. I've been knocking on the manager's door about getting a game myself but unfortunately he's never been in!". No major new injury worries for us but David Hannah is doubtful after being floored by a sickness bug.
John Henry is back in the squad though and he told the Official Site, "I'm delighted to be back to the stage where the manager can consider me for a jersey. Owen has been very supportive in letting me train with Saints pre-season in a bid to prove my fitness and having achieved that and won a contract it's been very frustrating being out. I came through pre-season no problems at all and was feeling great but I took a real heavy knock in the match down at Hamilton and although it was directly on the area of my previous injury, I'm certain the knock would have kept me sidelined irrespective of my previous problems. The Accies player got the ball in the challenge but I took a real sore one in the process. I tried to play in the following game against St Mirren but it just couldn't continue."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
October 12th - The injury list continues fo be a problem ahead of this weekend's game. Scott Paterson finally trained yesterday after bruising ribs against Morton in the reserves early last week. Kieran McAnespie has a heel knock and is doubtful while Kevin "Dinky" Rutkiewicz only managed a light training session yesterday after his illness. And finally, Mark Campbell has had an injection into his achilles injury but has already been ruled out for the Brechin game.
October 11th - Yes I know
there's not been much news lately but with Saints shutdown as we indulge
in some national mourning for the failure to make the World Cup, it looks
like Trinidad and Tobago's efforts will have an impact. They're in with a
chance of making the play-offs and if they do, it means that
Jason Scotland will likely miss our
visit to Dens on November 12th - it's not all bad news though as our
esteemed opponents will also be missing their keeper. All will be
confirmed tomorrow if T&T beat Mexico.
There's not much in the way of other news with Kevin Rutkiewicz laid up with a sickness bug he apparently got from David Hannah. No word on whether it means yet another defensive reshuffle at the weekend.
October 7th - Saints managed to
agree an undisclosed fee with Clyde for Simon
Mensing ahead of yesterday's tribunal. So that's that all sorted
But the bad news is that Peaso's tidy-up op has revealed more damage than they thought and we're set to be without the striker until Santa's been and gone. In today's Courier, Owen Coyle said, "We expected to be without Peter for two or three weeks but basically when theyve gone in theyve found more damage than expected. He has been told he can do nothing for six weeks and then itll be another four or five weeks before he is ready to play again. I feel really sorry for Peaso because since he joined St Johnstone hes been troubled by one injury or another. Hopefully, though, this will be the end of his misfortune because, in my opinion, when fit hes the best striker in the first division."
October 4th -
Peaso is in the hospital today for
what's described as a "tidy-up" operation on his knee. He's only
expected to miss one game and Owen Coyle
told the Courier, "Were hoping Peaso will only be out for
the Brechin match after the international break, instead of more had he
been operated on a week or so ago. He hasnt been 100% for a wee
while now and maybe if he had been hed have put away a couple of the
chances he got at Stranraer on Saturday.".
The manager was on target last night as the reserves won their League Cup tie at Cappielow. He got two while Stephen Dobbie and Steve McManus hit the others in a 4-0 win. As for Saturday he said, "In terms of our passing and movement, that was one of our best performances of the season so far. Their manager Neil Watt said to me after the game that nobody has dominated them like that, including Aberdeen. Some of the chances we missed couldnt even be described as half chances really. Were certainly creating them, but we need to be more clinical and ruthless in front of goal. Looking at the league table, though, were only four points off the pace, and that is nothing at this stage of the season."
1st - Simon Mensing(right) is
out to make amends on the trip West today. The newly unsuspended Saints
defender said in the Courier, "Ive been dealt with and so I
should have been. I let myself down, the team down and the gaffer down. It
was heat of the moment stuff and the gaffer says hes been there
himself, as have a lot of players. But I have to learn from what happened
and eradicate that sort of thing from my game."
"The journey to Stranraer alone is difficult enough and you can add to that the fact the pitch is tight, and obviously they are coming off the back of a very good result (the 3-2 away win over Brechin) last weekend. We have to be prepared for all of that and play our own game. Weve done not too badly away from home and hopefully we can carry on from the win at Clyde. That was a good result. I dont think it was our best performance by any means, but until Scott Paterson was sent off we werent in too much trouble. After I followed Scott Paterson in being red-carded the boys did come under a bit of pressure. But they held strong. If you are going for promotion you need to be picking up a fair number of points away from home. Weve taken six from a possible nine so far and if we can now go on a nice little run itll move us nearer to the top. "
It looks like Kevin James might return to defence while Goran Stanic has been passed fit and there may be a slot for John Henry on the bench.
And the skipper has called on the fans to be patient after the midweek debacle. Kevin James said in the Retard, "Fans have to remember it takes time for a team to gel. We'll get stronger as the season progresses". - worrying echoes of last year there!
8pm - In the end we had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Stranraer as a late Moore header cancelled out Ryan Stevenson's opener as we dominated the whole game including Jason Scotland hitting the post late on. Results elsewhere mean we're now 5th but only 4 points off the pace.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
Top Of News
30th - Ahead of tomorrow's match, Owen
Coyle(right) has warned the players to be on their best behaviour.
In the Courier he admitted Simon Mensing
had been disciplined after his red card. "Simon lifted his hands
to push the boy away, and we all know you cannot raise your hands, so he
has been punished under our code of conduct. I am not overly concerned by
the red-cards weve been picking upScott
Paterson was unfortunate, as was Mark
Campbell at Cowdenbeathbecause sometimes things go against
you. In addition to those dismissals weve also conceded a number of
goals to deflections and had penalties given against us which Stevie
Wonder could have seen werent pens! If it is the case that the
breaks even themselves out over the piece then Im looking forward to
the rest of the season because we are long overdue a slice of luck.
However, we cannot go creating problems for ourselves and thats why
I have stressed to the players the need to ensure we keep eleven on the
park at all times. Ive told them I want them to be competitive but
that they must act within the laws of the game and avoid being
As for Tuesday's shambles he wants to put it behind for the weekend. "I stayed up until five in the morning watching a tape of the Hamilton game, over and over again, and if nothing else that exercise has made me even more determined to ensure we are up there challenging at the top of the league. And I know this group of players can achieve thatproviding they perform at the top of their game."
Darren Sheridan has apparently been cured so he'll definitely play tomorrow. Mark Campbell has a calf knock so is rated doubtful.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
September 29th -
Kevin James looks like he'll be able to
return to the side for the trip to Stranraer at the weekend.
Simon Mensing is also likely to return
but Scott Paterson misses out and
Darren Sheridan is still apparently
suffering from a chest infection.
Owen Coyle is looking forward to the trip partly since it's his first journey to Stair Park. He told the Courier, "I have never been there but I have heard they dont make it easy for visiting teams. So we cant afford to play in fits and starts like we did on Tuesday.We had high hopes of getting to the final of the Bells Cup and I am so disappointed that we failed to take that opportunity. A chance to win silverware has passed the players by and now we need to go down to Stranraer and get league points. "
September 28th - It's a case of no excuses from Owen Coyle for last night's shambles. The Saints manager told the Courier, "I thought we dominated the first half but in the second half we were not as fluent as I would like us to be and I expected us to do better after half time. That wasnt good enough. I can vouch for the fact that opportunities to get to a cup final dont come around too often. This was a great chance to get to one and we didnt take it. "
27th - Hero of Broadwood Kevin
Cuthbert(right) denies that the Challenge Cup isn't an important
tournament to Saints. Ahead of tonight's semi, the Saints keeper said in
the Courier today, "Who doesnt want to play in a final? Who
doesnt want to win a medal? The further you get in a competition,
the more you want to win it. The fans will want a good day out at a final
and there would be nothing worse than falling at the final hurdle tomorrow
night. Well be expecting a tough game from Hamilton but we beat them
at the start of the season and I think weve improved as a team since
then. This is a game that we really want to win."
As for his own form he said, "I always knew that the manager would sign another goalkeeper, even though it took a long time for it to happen. I just had to forget about who he might bring in and concentrate on my own game and make sure I reacted in the right manner. Im in the team just now and whether or not I stay there is in my hands. There are a lot of big games coming up that I dont want to miss out on. I was disappointed with the goal I conceded against Dundee but there was no point in dwelling on it. I thought I did well against Clyde on Saturday and getting a win and a clean sheet was perfect. It was a long last 15 minutes when we were playing with nine men, but we restricted them to just a few chances and that says a lot for the organisation of our defence. "
Owen Coyle has also praised his keeper and said, "Hes been terrific. The biggest compliment I can pay him is I keep picking him every week. He made a mistake for the goal against Dundee in not turning a shot around the post, but he had a tremendous save against Clyde. Hes looking very composed and assured ."
As for tonight there will be some changes. The manager has probably to do without the services of Kevin James and Darren Sheridan. He said, "Kevin was in agony at the end of the game and Darren probably shouldnt have played against Clyde as he had a chest infection. So they are both doubts.". Peaso will be monitored and is set to see a specialist about his knee after the weekend. But Owen Coyle said, "Whatever team takes the field will be good enough to win. Were in the last four of the cup and we want to get to the final. Ive played in two finals, winning one and losing one, and would love the opportunity to take St Johnstone to one."
11pm - An absolutely pathetic second-half performance saw us lose 2-1 at home to Accies in the semi-final with Rustybitz first-half goal one of the few highlights. The team were booed off the park and thoroughly deserved the fans reaction. Absolutely shocking.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
September 26th- Confirmation today that Simon Mensing misses out tomorrow night for being an idiot. Scott Paterson does play but will miss out on the weekend trip to Stranraer. Elsewhere though both Kevin James and Darren Sheridan might miss out with the latter nursing a throat infection. Owen Coyle said "We have one or two other knocks and will monitor these players right up until kick-off time. The Bells Cup is one we want to win and tomorrows game gives us an opportunity to reach the final."
24th - New father Goran Stanic
(who missed the birth of his child in Spain last weekend cos he was
playing against the Scum) is looking to round off the week with 3 points
from Broadwood. The Macedonian Saintee told the Courier, "The
manager would have let me go to Spain before the Dundee match if Id
wanted, but because my wife Georgina couldnt be sure when the birth
was due I went straight after the game. I spent four days over there, but
I trained by myself each day to keep in shape. The week has passed really
quickly. Now I want to finish a good week by winning tomorrow. Then we
have the Bells Cup semi-final on Tuesday and another league match
the following weekend before I can get a break with my family."
It's too early for Kieran McAnespie apparently and while both John Henry and Scrabble are back in training they're not expected to take any part. Owen Coyle simply said, "We know were capable of dominating games. Now we have to kill teams off, starting against Clyde this afternoon."
7.30pm - A disgraceful refereeing performance ruined a decent game with Saints hanging onto beat Clyde 1-0 despite late red cards for Scott Paterson and Simon Mensing(right), the latter a fully deserved one for violent conduct. Savo was the man to get the goal which got the 3 points and puts us back up to 4th.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
September 23rd - After a pretty
quiet week, Owen Coyle is in the papers
today talking about tomorrow's trip to Broadwood. The Saints gaffer
watched Clyde at Ibrox on Tuesday night and said in the Courier, "They
were very impressive, worked their socks off and gave everything they had
and were a bit unfortunate not to win over the 90 minutes. They have got a
cause to fight for because people werent exactly full of niceties
about them at the start of the season, and theyve made people eat
their words. It will be very difficult but we have to focus on our
performance because its important we come away with the three
And ahead of tomorrow's game (where we're getting the stand opposite the main stand instead of being squeezed into one corner), Paul Sheerin is looking to get a goal or two (we can all dream). Speaking on the Official Site he uttered, "We really just need to approach tomorrow in the same manner as we have done the past three matches as there hasn't been a lot wrong with those games except the lack of goals. Against Ross County especially we played very well and just lacked the end product and we had bags of possession against Dundee although to be fair we didn't look like scoring. This week we've been working hard on sharpening up our play in the 'final third' and hopefully well reap the benefits from that." "I'm a lot happier all round this season. 'Janny' (Neil Janczyk - more correctly known as Scrabble) was in the team at the start of the season and I had no complaints. But I'm delighted to be back in again and I'm happy in the role that I'm playing. I prefer to be in a position to be supporting the front men but I would like to add goals to my game. I got 17 from midfield in one season with Inverness Caley and although there were a few penalties among them I still think I should be getting on the score sheet more regularly for Saints. I feel I'm capable of getting ten a season and Saints fans have certainly not seen anything like that sort of contribution so far so I'll be working hard to remedy that situation."
Kieran McAnespie may play but lacks match practice though Scrabble is ruled out already despite being back in training. Peaso may return to the starting line-up though.
September 20th - Latest injury
news is that Kieran McAnespie was back
in training yesterday and may play in today's closed-doors game against
Raith. Rustybitz picked up a knock but
should be back in training midweek but Scrabble,
John Henry and
As for our mentality, Owen Coyle believes the rest of the teams are scared of Saints. In today's Courier, he said, "Weve dominated all the games against the so-called title challengers, and if wed won our last two matches against Dundee and Ross County, as we should have, we would be right up at the top of the league. I still feel there is a lot more to come from us and we also have players to come back into the team. Its all very positive. What we have to make sure we start doing is pick up all three points when we dominate a match, not just one."
17th - Jason Scotland is
hyping up the game in the Courier this morning. Speaking in the Courier of
his rivalry with international colleague and Scumdee goalie Kelvin Jack,
the Saints striker said, "Kelvin and I get on great, we socialise
and visit each other a lot. We have been speaking nearly every day since
that journey and we both think it took a lot out of us. He told me he was
still feeling the effects of the trip this week, and I wasnt doing
that well myself. But we have to put it behind us and it is nice to have
this big match to look forward to now. I know the two clubs are from
different cities but this is still a derby for us because Dundee are seen
as St Johnstones main rivals. So I will be looking to score goals
against Kelvin and he understands that, just as I understand that he will
do everything in his power to keep a clean sheet for his team. We will
shake hands and wish each other good luck at the start but after that all
I will be thinking about is helping St Johnstone."
"If we can beat Dundee then it will have been a very good week for the club. We have a lot of quality players here and we feel we should be moving up the league table. If we get a victory then we can then push on from there and go on to have a successful season. "
Meanwhile we've got another injury worry with Kevin Moon ruled out with a hip injury. Owen Coyle said, "Kevin is only 17 and has a big future in the game. Its a shame he picked up the injury and will miss out. Dundee and ourselves are playing for the same three points, but theres the added spice of it being a local derby and the bragging rights that go with it. It should be one of the bigger attendances of the season and the atmosphere will be great. Dundee are seen as the big club in this division, but we are looking to be up there challenging too."
There will be late fitness tests for Steven Anderson, Peaso and Kevin James but these are the only ones in with a chance of playing.
7pm - A Kevin Rutkiewicz(right) equaliser meant we drew 1-1 with Dundee despite dominating most of the second-half but it wasn't enough as the cutting edge was again missing. Still the point sneaks us a bit further up the table. Owen Coyle's comments after the game summed it up. On the Official Site he said, "We dominated that game and should have had the three points. Dundee obviously came to sit in and I can understand why they did that and I suppose its a compliment to St Johnstone that they were happy with a point but its very frustrating that we didnt create more chances and break them down. It was a soft goal again and we are going to have to get back on the training ground and yet again work on trying to eradicate that aspect of our play but I cant fault the players for their character and the will to win they showed me. It was just a pity that too often the delivery from the wide areas was poor and that we couldnt make more of the opportunities that we had. We need to show a strength of character to overcome teams who come to McDiarmid Park to sit in and try and frustrate us and that is all part of the learning process. Individually and collectively today we just didnt fire on all cylinders."
16th - Savo is looking to score
the winner tomorrow the way he did the last time we played the Scum at
McD. The striker said, "It's St Johnstone that pay my wages now
and I'm paid to score goals for Saints. In an ideal world Dundee would
have stayed in the Premier League last season and I wouldn't have to play
them. But I know how big a game this is for our fans.
"I'm sure I'll get the usual reception from fans seeing a former player lining up against their team. I'll have to blank it out and get on with the job. The last time I scored in a derby was for Dundee in Perth and this is the first time I'll have played against them. That makes it interesting!"
Owen Coyle's obviously trying not to be too excited about tomorrow's game though. Speaking on the Official site, he said, "Im fully aware that this game means a lot to Saints fans and there will be a good crowd there tomorrow but the players have to stay focussed and concentrate on continuing the good work of the past week and go about collecting what, at the end of the day, is three points.".
Team-wise Mark "Sin Bin" Campbell is still suspended and Darren Sheridan(right) will return after being rested midweek. Steven Anderson, Peaso, Kevin James and Scrabble are all doubtful although Ando should make it. The manager said, "We'll assess the injured players. I thought Peaso had his best game since I've been here against Ross County and now is the time I'd expect to see partnerships blossoming throughout the team."
And for our esteemed opponents, it looks like we've managed to infiltrate another fifth columnist into their ranks with ex-Saintee Stuart McCluskey reported to be set to sign for them.
Finally, there's another souvenir out tomorrow - four measly quid can get you an exclusive Trinidad and Tobago flag which goes on sale tomorrow at the souvenir shop.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
September 15th - We got a relatively kind draw in the semi-final of the Bell's Cup with a home tie against Accies. The match is set for Tuesday September 27th @ 7.45pm. And just as his jetlag is cured, Jason Scotland is in the Trinidad and Tobago squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Mexico.
Owen Coyle was full of praise for the
hat-trick hero Savo in the papers today.
In the Courier, he said, "I thought Steven was tremendous against
Ross County on Saturday without getting a break and knew that if he got
one he would go on a run."
Speaking of the win on the Official Site, the manager also said, "It was a well deserved win and the boys showed character to bounce back from what I thought was yet another soft goal to lose. You are always on a hiding to nothing with these games as you are expected to win but that said, Raith have been flying in recent weeks so it was a great result. All three of Stevie Milne's goals were first class finishes as was Jason Scotlands. Simon Mensing got a break for his and that has to be the worst goal celebration Ive ever seen!!"
"I dont like to single guys out because we win and lose as a team but I thought Scott Paterson was outstanding at the back in his first start to the club and I was pleased to see young Kevin Moon do well when he came on for his debut and he was unlucky not to score. Having youngsters like Mooner and others like him at my disposal augurs well for the club and they have all been told that it doesnt matter if I bring in more experienced guys to the squad if the youngsters are playing and training well enough then they will be given their chance."
The semi-final draw is set for 2.30 tomorrow at Hampden.
13th - Saints don't have their injury worries to seek ahead of
tonight's quarter-final tie against Raith Rovers. Definitely out are
weekend victims, Kevin James,
John Henry. Joining them is
Kieran McAnespie who picked up a back
injury in the pro-am game at the weekend, Steven
Anderson and Darren Sheridan
while Peaso is a "slight
doubt" with a knee injury.
The striker is hoping to play and said in the Courier, "It is good because the gaffer usually takes us running on a Tuesday. Having a game means we miss that and thats a bonus, I can tell you! All joking aside, we want to win every game no matter what the competition is. And we could be just two games away from a finalthe first of the season. That is certainly worth aiming for. We didnt get the win we deserved at the weekend but the boys worked hard and hopefully we can carry our form into the Raith game and give them a going-over. It wont be easy, however, and I have noticed that Raith have been getting some good results and I think they will be in contention to win the Second Division this season. "
It does mean that Jason Scotland(right) will make his home debut tonight and youngsters Willie Dyer and Kevin Moon also look set to get a run out at some point. Owen Coyle said, "Its not ideal having so many people out, but thats the nature of football."
11.15pm - We went behind but came back well on the night to cruise to a 5-1 win over Raith and put us nicely into the semi-finals. Goals came courtesy of a hat-trick from Savo and one each from Simon Mensing and Jason Scotland. And congratulations to Kevin Moon who came off the bench for his debut tonight. Commiserations though to our opponents this coming weekend as Scumdee went down 2-0 at Accies. In the other tie St Midden beat Stenny 3-2. Apparently there was a diddy Euro tie on as well but we ignored that.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
September 12th - Today's Courier
quotes Savo after Saturday's game.
Speaking of his current goals drought, he said, "I am just trying
to work as hard as possible and if I continue to graft then I know the
goals will come again. The problem for me against Ross County was that
although I got chances they werent really clear-cut and I was
restricted to long-range shots and headers. The manager, who scored a few
goals during his own career of course, is always giving me encouragement
and I am sure things will work out. Anyway, the most important thing is
the team and I thought that was the best we have played all seasoncertainly
in the first half, although we slowed down a bit in the second. If we
continue to perform like that then we will pick up more points than we
drop. Now we face Raith on Tuesday, then its my old club on
Saturday. I am looking forward to playing against them and I am sure I
will get a good reception from the Dundee fans!"
Confidence is still high though and the reborn Kevin Rutkiewicz said, "This place is like night and day compared to last season. I think we strung together more passes in the first half on Saturday than we did in the whole of last season. We are now looking to play the ball from the back, through midfield to front rather than hump it long and look for scraps. There is much more believe about the place now. There is something happening at this club "
11th - Despite losing the two points yesterday,
Owen Coyle was happy enough with the
effort shown. He said on the Official Site, "I thought we were
worthy of the three points today and we played with a character and energy
which pleased me and if we show that same level again in the months ahead
we will win more games than well lose. I thought the application and
effort were first class and considering we had five or six players missing
that could have featured we did well and I thought the players who came in
did a great job and set a standard. It was a bad goal to lose and should
have been stopped at source by players who had been well warned about that
situation. That said, there were another 2 or 3 errors made by us in that
move that allowed them to get the goal."
As for Jason Scotland, the manager revealed, "Jason finally got into Heathrow late this morning and was on stand-by for the 1pm flight and had he managed to get on that one he might still have made it but as luck would have it all the scheduled passengers turned up for that flight that never happens on Airport! and he had to wait for the 3pm flight north. But thats why we have a squad of players and as I said, I thought the boys who came in did well. Given the fact that he hadnt trained in over a week I thought Peter MacDonald(right) was outstanding. With a bit more guile and a wee bit of luck we could have got all three points."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
September 10th -
Scott Paterson told the Courier that
he's relieved to have signed for Saints. The 33-yr old said, "Ive
felt a lot stronger in the last few games and Im now looking forward
to playing in the first team. Im just happy that the manager has
given me this opportunity. Its a great set-up here and weve a
good bunch of lads. Its been two years out of the game for me, its
as simple as that. These past two years have been a nightmare. This is a
fresh start. Im fit again and I feel ready to get going. Now Im
just looking forward to getting up on a Saturday knowing Im getting
ready to be involved in a game. Ill enjoy every game I play.".
Owen Coyle won't make a decision on the injury doubts until close to kick-off but Jason Scotland has been ruled out. The manager is looking forward to three home games in a week and said, "We want to win all three. It was good to get a few days to recharge the batteries after our last match and to refocus. Ross County have had a terrific start to the season. The bottom line is theyre top of the league and theyre the team to beat at the moment."
7pm - Peaso was the hero to equalise after we went behind this afternoon. But in the end we failed to capitalise on our domination and settled for a 1-1 draw with Ross County.
September 9th - Expect a
decision today over the Scott Paterson
saga. Looking ahead to tomorrow though and Jason
Scotland is due back today from international duty. A decision will
be made tomorrow to decide whether or not he plays against Ross County.
Also facing late fitness tests are Savo,
Kevin James and
5.30 - Looks like there will be several changes tomorrow. First of all Jason Scotland's return from international duty has been delayed after smoke in the cockpit and a bit of an air scare means they didn't get to Miami until today - so expect him to be ruled out tomorrow. Elsewhere and the Official Site reports several injury worries. As well as Savo, James and Peaso (none of whom have even trained in the last ten days), Mark "Sin Bin" Campbell is suspended for being an idiot at Airdrie and Scrabble is also ruled out. Kieran McAnespie and John Henry are available and new signing Scott Paterson(right) could join the squad after signing a deal until January.
September 7th -
Scott Paterson missed training due to
illness yesterday so talks about his signing were put on hold. He looks
set to be offered a 4-month contract though, before the end of the week.
Better news for Kieran McAnespie who
came through Friday's closed doors match with Airdrie unscathed and is
back in the reckoning for a first start of the season.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
September 6th - There's been
little happening. Jason Scotland made
a sub appearance at the weekend for Trinidad and Tobago and could feature
in tomorrows second international. Speaking in the Courier,
Owen Coyle said, "It is great
for the club to have someone involved at that level but I will have my
fingers crossed that he doesnt get injured and makes it back on
time. While the Scotland lads will be in their homes on Thursday following
their trip to Norway, Jason has a long haul flight and it is not ideal."
Meanwhile a decision is expected this week on Scott Paterson who has been training with the club since July. The manager went on, "I know what Scott can do as he has been here for weeks and his fitness is not an issue for me. We will sit down to talk and see what happens."
Saturday sees the visit of Ross County and currently Savo's ankle injury and Kevin James achilles mean both are doubtful for the weekend clash.
September 2nd - As expected,
David Bagan has signed for Raith so
expect to see him a week on Tuesday as the 2nd Division side visit Perth
in the Cup. And another ex-Saintee in the news is
Alan Kernaghan who seems set to be
unveiled as the Chief Pluke at Dens today. Hope his tetanus is up to date.
6pm- As predicted Alan Kernaghan became Chief Scum Pluke today, so he can no doubt expect a really warm welcome in a fortnight. Allan Preston saw some sense though and turned down the chance to join him as Assistant Chief Pluke. Closer to home and Saints took on Airdrie in a closed-doors game today with Stephen Dobbie scoring the only goal of the game.
1st - It's just as well we're not playing this weekend given the
injury list from Tuesday night's marathon victory.
Kevin James has an achilles injury and
Savo(right) had to have stitches
inserted into an ankle injury. And despite being due back on Friday from
international duty with Trinidad and Tobago, there's no guarantee
Jason Scotland will be available for
the big game against Ross County on Saturday. The striker still came in
for praise for his performance on Tuesday though. Speaking in the Courier,
Owen Coyle gushed, "He could
have scored again. I thought he was terrific."
4.45pm - The Bell's Cup draw sees Saints at home again to Raith Rovers with the match set for Tuesday 13th at 7.45pm. Certainly not the worst draw and we should fancy our chances of making the semi-finals.
One player set to miss out on this though is David Bagan. The ex-QoS midfielder who arrived under controversial circumstances earlier in the year to team up with John Connolly was released from his contract this morning. Rumours are he's set to join Raith Rovers which is no doubt ironic if you think about it!
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
Top Of News
31st - Well we didn't make it easy for ourselves but
Saints beat Partick on penalties
last night after extra-time had seen the game finish four each. Saints
goals came from Peaso, the recalled
Stephen Dobbie and
Neil Janczyk right at the end of
extra-time. Full credit to Partick though for making it a cracking
And ironically the scorer of the winning penalty, David Hannah is being linked with a move to Partick tomorrow. Well out of favour at Saints these days it's good to see that if the move does go ahead he at least went out on a high. The other rumour is that Mark Baxter is also set for a trip Firhillwards. No doubt with tomorrow being the last day of the transfer window all will become clear one way or another.
5.30pm - In the end Mark Baxter(right) has moved to Cowdenbeath on a permanent move. Joining him there on a temporary basis will be Andy Jackson on loan until January. On the Official Site, Owen Coyle said of the deal, "Mark was down the pecking order and I have no wish to stand in the way of his development. Hes been a good servant to the club and I wish him well and am confident he can flourish at that level. Andy knows that I firmly believe that he has a significant role to play at McDiarmid Park and a few months of training here full-time during the week but getting involvement at first team level at a good standard will do him no harm whatsoever."
Meanwhile the gaffer praised the fans last night saying, "The backing received from what was a very vocal support was superb and much appreciated. Im just sorry they had to go through the roller coaster of emotions that we all endured on the night! I feel the players deserve credit for showing the character to get through the tie but obviously the loss of four goals is a concern that we will address. The main thing is that we are still in the cup and well see what tomorrow afternoons draw brings us."
August 30th - It's Firhill
tonight for the 2nd round of the Challenge Cup and Saints attempt to get
back into the winning habit. Simon Mensing
is suspended and Kevin James has a knock
so is doubtful with Kevin Rutkiewicz on
standby for a recall.
Owen Coyle said in the Courier, "The aim is to get as far in the competition as we can and it would be nice to get through this tie and into the quarter-finalsbut Thistle will be difficult to overcome. What we showed after Airdrie got it back to 1-1 at the weekend wasnt good enough. We lost soft goalsand thats something weve spent this mornings training session looking to rectify.". As for Jason Scotland being permitted to delay his international departure for 24 hours, he said, "Its good well have Jason for the Partick game as he was tremendous on Saturday, the best player on the park."
And with the transfer window closing tomorrow the manager also revealed there's been a couple of enquiries about Mark Baxter so he could be on the move. One ex-Saint looking for a surprise move is Alan Kernaghan who is being described as the favourite to take over at Dens Park.
29th - With reports of the air turning Saintee-blue in the away
dressing-room after last Saturday's game, Owen
Coyle(right) has spoken on the Official Site today about the rotten
week for the club with three defeats in a row. He said, "I've
played for a lot of clubs and had disappointing experiences such as being
left out of cup final line-ups when I felt I should have been included but
none of that compares to how I'm feeling about the last week. I am
responsible for the collective effort of everyone on the playing side and
we've let everybody down. We controlled the pace early on and
Jason Scotland, who was the best
player on the park scored a tremendous goal. I felt we would build on that
and I honestly don't think I'm being biased or unreasonable when I say
that we then suffered from the award of the softest of penalties - their
player had reached the ball and knocked it over the bar before being
caught by Mark Paston.They got a lift
from that goal but I expected a lot more from the players at 1-1. To lose
a goal from a set play was very annoying because the players are well
versed as to what they should be doing in those situations. I never for a
minute envisaged losing those three games but so long as players fail to
do the basic things right and lose concentration then we will be punished
and I have to say that we are being severely punished for our errors at
the moment - we're getting away with nothing. But we win as a team and we
lose as a team and it's up to us to get it sorted out."
There is a quick opportunity to get things right tomorrow night at Partick but there will be some enforced changes. Simon Mensing is suspended although it looks like Mark Campbell may feature before beginning his suspension against league leaders Ross County on the 10th. John Henry will still be missing but Jason Scotland will play. He's been called up to Trinidad and Tobago for their World Cup games on the 3rd and 7th. He'll leave straight after the Partick match but will be available for the County game.
August 27th - Saints were still
trying to figure out if Jason Scotland
can get his red tape sorted out in time to add to the squad for the trip
to Airdrie today although it looks more and more unlikely.
Kevin James will be there though and
he's determined to put the shite week behind us. Speakingin the Courier,
the skipper said, "Whether we were lulled into a false sense of
security, I dont knowbut it is better to get a kick up the
backside at this stage of the season than later. The four wins we got were
deserved, but possibly we thought things might come a bit too easily. We
know though that we have to be at the top of our game at Airdrie because
they are always very strong at home. We need to win to get back on track
and we wont be going there with any fear."
"Looking at the goals we have lost in the last two games, theres nobody we can blame but ourselves. We have shot ourselves in the foot by not picking up men at set-pieces, and theres no getting away from that. The frustrating thing is its not as if St Mirren had to work hard for their goals in either game. Weve not scored from open play in the last two matches and there will be a battle for the striking places from now on. Its not pressureI think Jose Mourinho calls it motivation. "
John Henry will miss out today with a knee knock and Owen Coyle was still working out which keeper to use last night.
6.45pm - Jason Scotland's cracking debut goal after a surprise start was the only consolation this afternoon as we gave up and went down 3-1 at Airdrie with Mark Campbell picking up his 2nd red card of the month in the closing stages. Not a good afternoon as we slipped to 5th in the table.
August 26th - Just when you think the work permit farce surrounding Jason Scotland couldn't get any worse it now seems that he won't be able to play this weekend. Despite getting the work permit, he's currently in the country on a tourist visa and has to leave and re-enter the country for the permit to become valid. While everyone seemed to think a wee trip to Dublin and back would sort that out apparently it looks like he'll have to head home to Trinidad and then return - so don't expect to see him in action until the Ross County game.
August 25th - Jason Scotland(right) trained with his new teammates today. And the striker spoke of his joy at signing for Saints on the Official Site. He said, "Its exciting to be involved. Waking up this morning and remembering that I was going to be training and playing football with new colleagues made me very happy. I consider myself to be reasonably fit having played three Gold Cup matches for Trinidad and Tobago in Miami in July and I appreciated the chance to train with Dundee United a few weeks ago but I withdrew from that arrangement out of courtesy to them when I heard of Owen Coyles interest in signing me. I want to be playing every week and scoring goals and Im delighted to be getting the chance to do it with St Johnstone and Owen Coyle. Of course I want to be playing in the SPL and hopefully Ill get the chance to do that with St Johnstone."
August 23rd -
Owen Coyle and
Stewart Duff are at Hampden this morning
to make the case for a permit for Jason
Scotland. No word on who's on the 6-man panel but apparently it's
going to be fairly different from the Hibs version a few months ago. And
just to add a bit of spice, the Arabs are set to sue the Home Office if
Saints win the appeal!
Little team news for tonight but Owen Coyle is looking for a better performance from the squad. He said, "It's never ideal playing the same team back to back but this is an opportunity to progress in a cup and reach the stage where the top clubs enter the competition. We paid dearly for individual errors at the weekend and now have to show the proper reaction to a defeat. "
11pm - The good news first of all saw Jason Scotland win his appeal and sign a 2-yr contract with Saints this afternoon. It was too late for him to take part in the shambles tonight as Mark Paston's debut saw him lose an early goal as we went down 1-0 to the Paisley Bogey Team and exited the CIS Cup. Speaking on the Official Site afterwards, Owen Coyle said, "The last team you want to lose an early goal to is St Mirren because they shut things down and defend a lead well. We were nowhere near as fluent tonight as we have been and that's the first time we've failed to score this season so all in all it's very disappointing. We've had three or four good chances during the game but hardly forced Hinchcliffe into a save. They had maybe two chances to score the whole night and took one that was no more than a half-chance and that's why they went through. I don't think we deserve to be out of the cup but if you lose soft goals that's what happens."
22nd - Saints youngsters got off to a good start yesterday, winning
their opening game 3-1 against the Beanos. The main news from the opening
day though is that Mark Paston(right)
seems set to sign today hopefully resolving the goalkeeping crisis.
Whether or not that means he starts tomorrow remains to be seen.
The Jason Scotland hearing is set for 11am tomorrow and a decision is expected then - it'll be too late for the CIS tie tomorrow night.
Peaso has hit out in the papers today after Craig Hinchcliffe wasn't sent off at the penalty incident. The striker said in today's Courier, "Where does the last man rule stand? You cant get any further back than the goalie. With all respect to the referee, I think the goalies got to go. Whether it is or isnt in the box, hes the last man. I dont know if Ryan McCann would have caught the ball but hes a fast player and had every chance to do so. It would have completely changed the game because they would have had to change their formation and tactics but for some reason it didnt go for us."
"Were all disappointed, though Im relieved to get my first goal of the season. I was injured early on and Stephen Dobbie and Savo Milne have been doing so well, so Ive just had to wait my chance, but Im champing at the bit. There was some pressure for the penalty because it was only my second touch of the game! "
5.45pm - As anticipated, Kiwi keeper Mark Paston(right) signed for Saints today on a deal until the end of the season. On the Official Site, Owen Coyle said of his new boy, "I'm delighted to have got this sorted out. Mark has done everything asked of him in his time here and although he wasn't exactly overworked in the matches against Dunfermline or last week's closed-door game against Dundee United I've seen enough of him in training to gauge his abilities and he will provide good competition to Kevin Cuthbert for the keeper's jersey."
And Kiwi himself said, "I've been really impressed with the club and the players here and I've been made very welcome. It's nice to have everything sorted out now and I'm looking forward to my time here. After the game for Saints I went back South and I played in a trial game for Rotherham against Sheffield United but picked up a hip injury and that kept me out for the best past of a fortnight. It's meant that getting fixed up with a club has dragged out a bit but I'm grateful for this chance to join what is clearly a well-run, ambitious club. I now need to work hard on my sharpness and fitness and try to make a real impact." No word on whether that last remark means he'll be in the no 1 shirt tomorrow night or not.
August 21st - Owen Coyle wasn't too chuffed about yesterday's defeat. The manager told the Official Site, "Im obviously disappointed. We can play a lot better than that and two individual errors led to their goals. The first one was particularly disappointing with Simon Mensing playing a suicidal pass and being punished although Mark Campbell should have covered Kean. I thought we started well and controlled the first 25 minutes or so but give St Mirren credit, they came into it. I thought we showed character to get back into it and thought we could have gone on from their to win it. But weve come a fair bit in a short time along the way I want us to travel and we just have to lick our wounds, accept the medicine and get on with it. Well have another crack at them on Tuesday."
20th - Neil Janczyk(right) is
the man in the papers ahead of today's big clash. The ex-Jambo spoke to
the Courier about the start of his Saints career saying, "I am
really not too bothered at leaving Hearts, even though they are top of the
Premierleague. During my time there I was not really getting a proper
chance and did not get a great deal of first team football. I keep in
touch with a few of the lads at Hearts and, of course, they are really
enjoying things at the moment. However, I am just delighted to be playing
regularly in a team that is winning." He went on, "I am
really pleased with the way things have gone here, both personally and as
a team. We are top of the league with a couple of good wins under our belt
but as our gaffer keeps stressing it is just a start, nothing more. It is
nice to be top and as far as promotion goes we feel we have a good chance.
I just hope we will still be up there come May. I do not know a great deal
about St Mirren but they are a good side and will be stuffy. Anybody can
beat anybody in this league and we will certainly have to work hard to get
As expected any move for Jason Scotland is on hold until the review panel sits. No word on a keeper but Mark Paston is the only name in the frame now after Colin Stewart signed for Partick yesterday.
Owen Coyle instead is concentratingon the league today and said, "There has been a big turn around in playing staff since last season but they seem to have gelled reasonably quickly. It has been encouraging but we are only two games into a season that lasts 36 games, so it is important not to get too carried away. I regard St Mirren as one of the favourites for the league titlethey finished second last season and are a better team now. The fans have been tremendous ever since I arrived here and hopefully they will get right behind us once again."
6.30pm - Peaso scored a penalty but it was suicidal defending time as we lost 1-2 to the Midden thanks to a Simon Mensing cock-up for the first and woeful defending six minutes from time as they got the winner.
August 19th - As expected, the
Jason Scotland(right) bid is all over
the papers with the Courier describing it as "audacious"
(aye that's us uppity Perth bastards for you!). The review panel is
expected to sit next Tuesday or Wednesday so we'll have a decision by
then. Apparently while it could be the same Hibs-dominated panel that
quashed the application last time, if any of the "independents"
selected are the Hibs-biased panel members, Saints will object and have
them replaced. Speaking of the move told them, "I worked with
Jason on a daily basis for a year at Dundee United and in my opinion he is
Elsewhere and a decision on Mark Paston will be made in the next couple of days.
Finally, remember the new home tops go on sale at Asda's today at 4pm - just make sure there's an XXXXXL one left for me in the morning!!
August 18th - Weirdest story of
the season so far this morning with a Retard exclusive that Saints
have applied for a work permit for Dundee United's
Jason Scotland - the player had
effectively had his SPL career ended with the Arabs but Saints could be
trying to resurrect it in the SFL.
Elsewhere though and John Henry, whose month-long deal expires in a fortnight looks set to be offered a longer-term contract.
5.30pm - Confirmation that John Henry signed a 1-yr deal with Saints this afternoon. Meanwhile the Jason Scotland story is gathering pace with the Arabs getting all het up that we might sign a player. The work permit application is expected to be turned down almost automatically meaning another 6-man appeal board to make the decision, with the "lower quality" of the SFL compared to the SPL meaning we might gain the permit. The Trinidad striker is currently training at Tannadump having returned to the UK on a 6-month tourist visa. Of the move, Owen Coyle said, "I wouldnt be doing my job right if I didnt bring quality players to St Johnstone. Jason is available and is a top-class player. If were successful in getting him, it will give us tremendous competition in the striking department"
17th - Mixed news yesterday for Saints.
Mark Paston played in a closed-doors
3-1 win at Tannadump and will be at the club until the end of the week.
Peaso was the name on the scoresheet
for Saints bagging all three of our goals.
Scott Paterson also played and the
manager is expected to make a decision on him soon also.
But it wasn't such good news for Kieran McAnespie(right) who has picked up a back knock in training which has put back his comeback by another couple of weeks.
5pmSaints have confirmed that the open day will start on Sunday at midday. See the Official Site for more information. Meanwhile Geoff Brownwas in the papers today asking for the home fans to make more noise at McDiarmid. Doing his best Delia impression he said, "I still want our supporters to be more vocal.We have a big game coming up on Saturday at home to St Mirren, who should bring a good-sized support. And it's up to our fans to let them know who the real Saints fans are. The team are scoring goals and winning and that gets fans behind us. Last season was not what we expected. We want to stay where we are now, at the top of the First Division, and Saturday's game represents a big test for us. I just hope the fans really get behind the side." As for the new signings and manager, the chairman went on, "Kevin James has a good attitude and he organises the defence very well. He's been over the course before and he's a big guy with a huge presence. A lot of tall men can't head the ball properly, but he's one who can. And one of his central defensive partners, Mark Campbell, has started well, too. And, at the cutting edge, strikers Steven Milne and Stephen Dobbie, have been regularly among the goals. Im looking for others to chip in with their share too"
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
August 16th - Confirmation today
that Mark Paston trained with the boys
yesterday at the start of a second trial spell at McDiarmid.
Owen Coyle said, "I was very
pleased with the way Mark played but the injury curtailed his time here
pre-season. We do need another keeper and I was happy to bring him back
for another look. "
Meanwhile looking ahead to the weekend Darren Sheridan has picked up a knee knock but is the only player "giving concern" for the weekend.
August 14th - Plenty of praise from the manager last night after the win. He told the Sunday Mail (yup we merited more than 2 paragraphs!), "I can't praise my lads highly enough. The players gave us the hunger and enthusiasm we asked for. We showed we can work hard and grind out a result with the best of them. This division is not just about playing nice football. Stevie Milne put in a phenomenal shift and Kevin James was outstanding "
August 13th - Fit-again
John Henry who came off the bench last
weekend is hoping for a starting jersey today. The midfielder said in
today's Courier, "I woke up on Tuesday morning with a sore neck
and I couldnt turn it fully. It took a couple of days to clear up
but the physios been pulling me about and Im getting the full
range back in it now. Ive been working hard since pre-season and the
manager knows Ill be more than ready to play at Hamilton tomorrow. I
was happy because it can sometimes be hard to make an impression from the
bench, but in the Alloa game when I came on their players were maybe
tiring a bit. In the Queen of the South match I think anybody could have
come on and done well when its 4-0 against 10 men with no pressure!
Thats the dream substitute appearance really. Because I was out for
so long with a knee injury I had to prove to myself that I can get about a
pitch as I used to. I feel Ive done that. Ive still got a few
things to prove to myself first and foremost and Im taking it a game
at a time. Ill speak with the manager at the end of the month. This
is a really good club and I think well have a shout at getting out
of this league. Id love to stay. Theres something similar here
to Falkirk last season. The gaffer has brought in a lot of talented
players, and he knows that you will need a big squad to win this league. "
Pamela Anderson looks like replacing the suspended Mark Campbell this afternoon. Owen Coyle meanwhile says he's looking for three points but also a much better performance than the midweek cup-tie. "We were disappointed in terms of our display because we know we can do a lot better. Having said that, the team showed tremendous character to win the match with 10 men. It was good to see our strikers get amongst the goals again. Stevie Milne now has four and Stephen Dobbie has three. I still feel that partnership can develop more, and we also have Peaso chomping at the bit to get back in, so thats a healthy situation. It means Dobbie and Milne will have to keep performing at the standard they have set. "
7pm - A cracking finish towards the end of the first half from Stephen Dobbie saw Saints run out 1-0 winners at Douglas Park to keep us joint top of the league with Ross County who also won with all the other games ending in draws.
12th - Saints chairman Geoff
Brown(right) is in the Courier today talking about the finances last
year with Saints losing just £41,000 despite having such a shite
season. He said, "In todays football economic climate a
loss of £41,792 after tax represents a considerable improvement
taking into account the poor performances on the field, with early exits
in each of the cup competitions, and the loss of our £125,000
parachute payment from the SPL. It augurs well for the future that weve
just gone through what can only be described as a desperate season and weve
only made a small loss. You dont have to be a genius to work out
that if we had got 4000 more people through the turnstiles over 20 games
we would have written off that loss. That isnt a lot. Well
never be happy with losses, but we certainly feel they are within our
"Football and finance will remain intertwined for the foreseeable future and our measured approach in previous years will stand us in good stead. The football position for the forthcoming season looks to be competitive, but it remains my intention for St Johnstone to be competing at the top end of the division and hopefully providing our loyal supporters with something to cheer. I would say Im much more upbeat about the way this manager is going about his business. The dressing room is very positive and I feel weve got decent players here."
As for tomorrow, Goran Stanic is our only doubt although Mark Campbell will be missing through suspension.
5pm - Tomorrow's trip to Accies looks like being a tough one. Speaking on the Official Saints Site, Owen Coyle said, "Like us, Accies got off to a winning start last weekend and they will be looking to make home advantage count. In terms of the level of performance we will need display in order to get something there's no doubt that we will have to raise the bar to a new high. But we go into the game in a confident manner. We've had a couple of good displays at home and also shown a bit of 'dig' at Cowdenbeath in midweek and we're going to Hamilton determined to come home with three points." Saints fans are in the usual stand behind the goal and it's £14 for adults and £6 for kids.
And miracle of miracles the new home kit gets launched on Friday. As usual it'll be on sale at Asda in Perth with some of the players in attendance for the launch. There will be some on sale online as well details on the Official Saints Site next week.
Finally, the latest rumour is that ex-trialist keeper Mark Paston could be coming up for another trial next week. With time running out for Owen Coyle to get someone in as back-up / challenger for the no. 1 jersey, it looks more and more like Colin Stewart or Mark Paston could be the answer.
August 11th - Some ex-Saints in
the news last night with Chris Hay signing
for Stirling Albion - and he joined 2-goal Paddy
Connolly in putting QoS out of the CIS cup last night to join Saints
in this afternoon's draw. Of course due to the wonderfully objective
seeding we're not going to meet them in the next round.
Not much else to report today - both Darren Sheridan and John Henry who missed Tuesday's fun due to knee and neck injuries respectively will be available for selection on Saturday.
2.45pm - The draw for the 2nd round of the CIS cup sees us at home to St Midden - kick-off is at 7.45 on August 23rd, 3 days after we meet them in the league!
5.45pm - The deal for Marius Kizys has died for unspecified reasons and he's headed home to Lithuania. Our other trialists, Scott Paterson and Colin Stewart played in a closed doors game yesterday with the other fringe players. Saints beat Raith 2-0 with goals from Peaso and Andy Jackson.
August 10th - With Saints in
Thursday's 2nd round draw for the CIS cup, the bad news is that we're
still not going to be seeded so expect an SPL club as our opponents.
Mark Campbell is likely to be
suspended for that game and/or this weekend's trip to Accies which is the
price we pay.
Elsewhere and Saints are still in talks with Marius Kizys with Owen Coyle said to be keen on the defensive midfielder.
Finally congratulations to Mixu Paatelainen who's set to be appointed Cowdenbeath manager today.
5pm - Speaking on the Official site Owen Coyle said of last night's match, "The home side did very well and gave us a real tough time and I'm just glad we made it through. We didn't match the performance standard set in previous matches but having said that the lads showed another quality last night - that they could buckle down and dig out a result when things seemed to be slipping away from us to some extent. Again, I thought the two front men worked really hard and deserved their goals and obviously the main downside of the night was Mark Campbells red card."..and just to confirm Mark Campbell has been banned for the trip to Hamilton at the weekend.
9th - Paul Sheerin looks set to
be given a starting jersey tonight for the trip to Cowdenbeath. In today's
Courier, he said, "Im desperate to play. Theres
nothing worse than training all week then being sat on the bench on a
Saturday. Its been very frustrating. I didnt start our last
pre-season match against Dunfermline and the boys have done really well
ever since. The midfielders who have started have made it hard for the
rest of us. Last season was a horrible one for everybody involved with
this club, not least the players. Its great to have fresh impetus
and theres a strength in depth to the squad that wasnt there
last season. The gaffer has said from day one that Im in his plans.
Ive spoken to him since Ive been left out and he still says Im
in his plans. Hell be sick of the sight of me! Whether the situation
changes further down the line, well have to wait and see. As it is,
Ill keep working hard and if I get my chance, take it. Hopefully
that will happen at Cowdenbeath and I can give the gaffer a headache for
his team selection on Saturday.".
He'll be in in place of Darren Sheridan whose minor knock seems set to see him rested. Also a minor doubt is Goran Stanic who faces a late fitness test over a hamstring strain. Otherwise though the manager insists he's not treating the Blue Brazil lightly. Owen Coyle said, "We want to go as far as we can in this competition and Cowdenbeath will be treated with every respect. They won 1-0 on Saturday despite not having a manager. There will be a shock somewhere in the cup, and we have to make sure it isnt against us. Our work-rate on Saturday was fantastic and that started with Stephen Dobbie and Stevie Milne up front. Even if they hadnt got us goals I would have been happy with their performance. If we go about this game properly again then Ill be expecting us to progress to the next round."
As for any potential moves, the manager also confirmed that Mark Baxter and David Bagan can go out on loan before the end of the transfer window at the end of the month. He said, "John Connolly signed David and I think he needs to be playing. Mark has shown a terrific attitude and the only thing thats missing is confidence."
10.30pm - Christ that was close - It took a late winner from Savo after Stephen Dobbie had twice given us the lead to see Saints through 3-2 winners at Cowdenbeath. But we were bloody lucky and it wasn't helped by a red card for Mark Campbell for an alleged use of the elbow (aye right)
August 8th -
Savo is speaking in the Courier today
about his performance and the win at the weekend. He said, "Its
a good start and it takes us to the top of the league. I know its
only after one game, but its good psychologically to be there and
have other teams trying to catch us. The main thing was to get three
points for the team but it was great for me personally to get two goals. I
scored last week in the Bells Cup, but as a striker you want to get
your first league goal as soon as possible so you can relax and enjoy your
football.". He confirmed he was a doubt on Saturday morning
saying, "I came in early today to see the physio. He taped up the
hamstring and it was OK once the game got going. I wanted to stay on for a
hat-trick but you have to take precautions. "
Meanwhile Cowdenbeath's chairman has apparently denied stories of a move for David Hannah. The latest rumour doing the rounds though is that Mark Baxter could be set to head to Brechin. The right-back has dropped down the pecking order this season and is only under contract until Xmas.
August 7th - Little news in the papers today. However out-of-favour former skipper David Hannah (who according to various rumours allegedly wants 6 months wages to quit the club) is being linked with a player-manager role at Cowdenbeat. And guess who we're playing on Tuesday?!?!?!
6th - Kevin James(right) has said
he's looking forward to leading Saints into the league campaign today.
Speaking in the Courier, TPFKAAFM (The Play Formerly Known as a Freaky
Mutant) said, "Id been at Falkirk on and off for over 10
years, but Ive been surprised at how quickly Ive settled in
here. I could have been playing in the SPL this season because I was
offered a new contract at Falkirk, but Im delighted to be here and I
wouldnt change anything. Even though we won the league at Falkirk
last season I wasnt always happy going into my work, but I am here.
I think the summer signings say a lot about what were hoping to do
at St Johnstone. Savo has been
unbelievable, and I think he wants to prove himself back in the SPL.
Stephen Dobbie is exactly the same.
These players are here to win the league and it is infectious when you
have players like that at the club ".
Looking ahead to the game he said, "Without getting over confident, things are looking good.Everything has been building up to tomorrow, and we want to hit the ground running. The manager wasnt happy with every aspect of our play last weekend, but there will always be teething problems at this stage of the season. As a start it was a good one, and now we need to build on it. Its all about the old saying of turning our ground into a fortress. At Falkirk last season teams didnt enjoy coming to our place, and thats what we want at McDiarmid Park. Sometimes the fans will have to be patient, but we know that we have to give them something to cheer about. Queen of the South are always well organised and they will look to counter-attack us."
It's not all sunshine and light though - Colin Stewart injured his back in training this week so his trial period is on hold and leaves Saints set to play Blair Hutton on the bench. One definite start though will be Simon Mensing who was suspended last week.
As for the other trialist, Marius Kizys, the Courier reports that Owen Coyle was meeting his representatives yesterday hopefully to make them an offer they can't refuse!!
6.30pm - It was a brilliant opening performance from Saints to day with a 4-0 win over QoS actually kind to the opposition. Goals came courtesy of a brace from Steven Milne(right), who should by rights have had a hat-trick and second-half goals from Ryan Stevenson and a Mark Campbell header. All of which means we're top of the league tonight - long may it continue!
10pm - Latest news from the club following today's win is that Robert Sloan has left by mutual consent to join Alloa who he had a loan spell with a while back- given the limited likelihood of getting any first team action it's unfortunate but the nature of the modern game and I wish him all the best in the future.
Meanwhile Owen Coyle was a chuffed manager again post-match. Speaking on the Official site of today's humiliation of QoS, he said, "Im obviously delighted with the result. We started at a high tempo and showed a great work ethic throughout. Queens are a good side and we had to be patient but the strikers worked hard to get their goals and create their chances today and I always felt we could take control once we got that first goal. Iain brought his side to sit in - and I mean no disrespect when I say that - but they clearly wanted to frustrate us but the first goal settled us and we continued to pass the ball around and create movement off the ball and Im trying to encourage that. If I have a minor criticism its that we took the foot off the gas in the last 15 minutes but to be fair they had played at a fair old tempo and it must have been difficult to maintain it. However, thats what Im trying to get us to do set a standard for a game and then dont let it drop at any point.". He also praised Steven Milne who was subbed due to a hamstring injury yesterday meaning he was treated with kid gloves. "As a striker myself I know how frustrating it is to be taken off when you are looking for a hat-trick and I left him on for a bit until he had created another chance for himself. He did that but he missed it so I hauled him off!!". And Ryan Stevenson also got some plaudits with the manager saying, "I cant fault Stevo for what hes done for me so far. He has been a bit player the past two years but all I can say is that I have found him to be a good player and he showed that today."
August 5th -
Peaso resumed training yesterday
after his ankle injury. The manager said, "Peter has been working
hand in hand with the physio and is confident hes in good shape".
Ex-Ross County keeper Colin Stewart was still training and a move could be made for him ahead of the league opener. Saints also have Lithuanian midfielder Marius Kizys training - he was at the Jambos last season.
5pm - Looking ahead to the season opener Owen Coyle said on the Official Site, "Everyone at the Club is pulling in the one direction with the aim of bringing SPL football back to Perth. The first rung on what will be a long, steep ladder will be met tomorrow and we will be coming up against an experienced First Division outfit in Queen of the South who have continued to belie their part-time status and will give us a really tough test. But we are going into the game in good spirit and quiet confidence that we have the players and the belief that we can get the Club back on track". Simon Mensing is in the squad along with Peaso.
Finally the Partick game has had it's kick-off set at 7.30pm on Tuesday 30th August. Admission will be £13 for adults and £7 for kids.
August 3rd -
John Henry didn't do his chances of a
longer-term deal any harm yesterday by grabbing the goal against the Arabs
in a 1-0 win. Saints had two trialist keepers during the game who played a
half each along with a midfielder believed to be either Latvian or
Lithuanian. The first half saw former Ross County and Rangers keeper
Colin Stewart between the sticks and
a move for the 25-yr old might be made today. Owen
Coyle said in the Courier, "If we can further improve our
squad then we will. I thought the pair of them did well, although with the
foreign lad Ill have to do some background checks before deciding
whether to take things further.". Expect some departures though
with the manager saying, "There are two or three lads at the club
who well be looking to move on either permanently or through loans."
5pm - The draw for the Challenge Cup this afternoon sees us set to make a trip to FourNill, I mean Firhill to play Partick in the 2nd round. Possibly not the best draw in the world but given our record there in recent years it's safe to say that whilst not taking Dick the Bunnet's side lightly, the journey won't hold many fears for Saints. The game's set for Tuesday August 30th with a 7.45pm kick-off.
August 2nd - There's a closed
doors match against the Arabs today to allow Saints to assess a midfielder
on trial. Still no concrete word on a keeper though.
Peaso is due back in training on Thursday but it's unclear whether it'll be too late for him to be added to the squad against QoS for Saturday's league opener. Good news too for Keyring who is set to return to training in a fortnight.
1st - Congratulations to the Saints youth / reserve side who picked
up the first trophy of the season at the Luncarty Tournament yesterday.
Elsewhere in today's Courier, Ryan Stevenson(right) has been talking about the weekend win in his capacity as the only Saints player who was in the side that lost to the Wasps last season in the CIS Cup. He said, "Compared to that night, when we were 3-0 down just after half-time, there was a big difference. That was such a bad night for everybody involved and I certainly didnt want a repeat of it. Im glad we got the win and got it convincingly. The spirit in the squad wasnt strong enough then, but it definitely is now. All the boys are together, even those who arent playing. The whole place feels so much better and the players are really looking forward to coming into training. The manager is the best Ive played under by far. His door is always open and he makes you feel that youre better than your opponent because hes telling you that you are. This will be my fourth year here and Ive stood still. Its definitely a big season for me. I think weve got a great chance in the first division, I really do. Well be looking to get off to a flying start like Falkirk did last year and take it from there. "
The feeling seems to be mutual with Owen Coyle saying that the midfielder has "every attribute to be a top class player, not just a first division player".
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
Top Of News
July 31st - Owen Coyle(right) is still playing the cautious approach despite yesterday's win. Speaking on the official site he said, "Im delighted with the result. We had to be very patient but I always felt that it was the case that we would get a goal or two if we just kept playing the way we were. We were very good in the second half and perhaps could have had more goals than the two we got. Im delighted for the goalscorers who both worked hard and Im equally satisfied that we kept a clean sheet. Thats 180 minutes of football at McDiarmid without losing a goal and thats the sort of home form I want to see. Its a good start but nothing more than that. The important stuff begins next week and Queen of the South will be a different proposition altogether."
July 30th -
Owen Coyle is looking for the season to
get off to a flier today. Speaking in the Courier ahead of this
afternoon's cup tie he said, "There will be two or three players
who played last year and hopefully the fans will see a difference in them.
Thats not to say that Im making them better players than they
were before, but weve tried to instill confidence and self-belief in
them. If theyre in the team its because we think theyre
good enough and have something to offer this football club. Hopefully the
supporters will see that they are revitalised. Everybody knows that the
league is the priority, but we have to address the home form of the last
few seasons, and we want to start with Alloa. They won here last season
and that will give the match an added edge. Theyll be given every
respect because they have some good players and I think they will try to
attack us. But Im sure that if we play to our capabilities we should
win the tie."
As for the season ahead he went on, "The players will have to deliver this season, and the demands of this football club are that you win your home games. They will have to show mental strength this season, because there will be times when things arent going our way and well need strength of character to see it through."...Meanwhile the manager also said he's got some "irons in the fire" with regard to a new keeper.
6.30pm - A convincing performance saw us run out 2-0 winners over Alloa with second-half goals from Steven Milne and Stephen Dobbie sending the home fans happy.
And some good news off the park is that the new strips should be in the shops on Friday.
July 29th - Not too much in the
papers today with most focussing on yesterday's signings - and the
revelation that Scumdee made a late bid to get
Goran's signature. As for the ongoing
keeper saga (remember when it was just a striker we wanted), discussions
are still ongoing with Mark Paston but
obviously the situation is getting desperate.
Meanwhile John Henry has been given a one-month contract. Owen Coyle said, "John has done everything asked of him pre-season and this contract will allow him to get a few games in and see how the injury holds up. If it does then he can play his way into a longer term deal.". Elsewhere Peter MacDonald will join Kevin Fotheringham and Keyring on the sidelines tomorrow. Simon Mensing is already suspended.
July 28th - The
Mark Paston saga has dragged on a bit
with the Retard reporting that the keeper has gone on trial to the Pars.
It does look like Darren Sheridan
will sign though and he could be joined by ex-Raith and Livi left-back
Meanwhile in today's Courier, Owen Coyle has laid out his expectations for the season and has set a high standard for the squad. He said, "At the end of the day it doesnt matter what price the bookies have you at, you have to go out and perform on the pitch. Wed like to think weve made some good signings over the summer, but now they will have to deliver. Obviously well be looking to do a lot better than eighth. St Johnstone are a club geared for the SPL and that brings its own demands. Im excited by the challenge of a new season and hopefully the players will share that enthusiasm. They have to show the appetite to win games for St Johnstone. We want to get off to a good start which will carry us forward for the rest of the season."
As for the rest of the league, he said, "Dundee have come down from the SPL and deserve to be regarded as favourites to bounce straight back. It hasnt proved easy for relegated clubs over the last few years, but Jim Duffy will believe his team can do it. They havent lost that many players since being relegated and they have signed a couple as well. Theyll be favourites and rightly so. Hamilton have invested a lot of money and have made some very good signings. There were a couple I was pursuing as well, but the money Hamilton were offering blew us out of the water. St Mirren finished second last year and everybody knows how difficult they were to play against. They strengthened their squad with pre-contract signings before last season was even finished. For me, they will be the three clubs up there. But if we can play to the level that I believe we are capable of, I can see us being there or thereabouts at the finish. There are two strong teams coming up in Stranraer and Brechin, and matches against them will be very difficult. Raith Rovers had tailed off early on last season, but I dont see that happening this time."
Finally the club has announced the Open Day for this year will take place on Sunday Aug 21st - see the Official Saints Site for details.
6pm - A lunchtime announcement confirmed the signings of Darren Sheridan (37) and Goran Stanic(32) on 1-yr deals and the new signings lined up for the official team photo. Owen Coyle was chuffed at the new players and said on the Official Site, "Im delighted to get these two players. Darren played on Saturday but it wasnt a trial from my perspective I knew I wanted him it was more to let Darren get a feel for the place to see if he fancied it. He had an offer to be a player/manager down south but hes know that I wanted to sign him for some time and my persistence has paid off!". As for Stanic he went on, "With Fotheringham and McAnespie injured we were a bit short of players for the left side and Goran will help us there. He has a tremendous pedigree and a great attitude. We have a lot of players here who have still to grow and get better but we needed experience in the right areas and we now have that." Darren Sheridan said, "I know Owen from his time down at Bolton and when he contacted me to see if I was interested I was keen to join up with him. I can see already that Saints are a good club with a great set-up and I want to be part of a squad that does their best to get the club into the SPL. From a personal point of view, I want to play for as long and at as high a level as possible and I know I can do a job. I know from being with Clyde last season what a tight league it is every game is played like a derby and I know what sort of campaign to expect.". And Macedonian Stanic, who was at Raith two years ago and Livi last year was just as enthusiastic saying, "I became aware of St Johnstones interest a week ago and the manager explained to me what he wants to do and where he sees me fitting in. Im very pleased to be staying in Scotland for a third year and delighted to be joining St Johnstone."
Still no word on a keeper though, and whilst John Henry and Scott Paterson are still training there's no move yet for either of the pair. Owen hasn't ruled either out but Henry has apparently already had offers from elsewhere.
July 27th - The kick-off this weekend will see Saints already having to reorganise the defence with Simon Mensing apparently facing up to a two-match suspension in the Challenge Cup.
July 26th - With talks under way
with the trialists it's a case of wait-and-see what the weekend brings.
Owen Coyle has admitted that both
Mark Paston and
Darren Sheridan have other options
open to them. In today's Courier, he said, "I liked the look of
both of them, but obviously everything needs to be right at both ends. If
they go elsewhere then that can happen in football but were
certainly not afraid to go after players who we think can do a good job
for the club.". And he confirmed that
Sheridan would have to move to Perth
if he signed a deal as opposed to only travelling up on match days which
he did at Clyde.
Elsewhere and Kevin James is back in training today with Peaso due to resume training tomorrow. That will leave only Keyring and Kevin Fotheringham on the treatment table.
Finally two ex-players have found new clubs with Paul Bernard signing for Irish outfit Drogheda yesterday and Blair Batchelor winning a deal at Raith.
July 25th - Going by his comments in today's Courier, Owen Coyle is a pretty happy manager this morning. The Saints gaffer said of Saturday's win, "Home form has counted against this club for the last few seasons and so it was important that the fans saw that we are looking to be a force to be reckoned with at home this year. It is just pre-season and there is a lot of improvement to come, but the guys did really well against an SPL side and they will take confidence from that.". And as for trialists Mark Paston and Darren Sheridan he went on, "The keeper wasnt really tested in terms of saves to make, but he did everything that was asked of him. He certainly looked the part. I know what Darren is capable of bringing to the team. That was evident in the first five seconds when he went in for a 40/60 challenge and came out the victor. Hes also a very good passer of the ball. ". Talks will be opened with both players' agents this week but there's no further moves planned yet for Scott Paterson and John Henry who have still to prove their fitness.
24th - Right, I sod off on holiday for a fortnight and it all
starts up. Here's a quick summary of what's been happening over the last
couple of weeks:
Friendlies / Fixtures- Full details are on the Fixtures page but basically we seem to have been ok with the pre-season campaign rounded off yesterday with a 1-0 win over the Pars thanks to a late Steven Milne goal, following two wins up north and a fluke(?) defeat to Forfar at Station Park last Thursday. Looking ahead to the "proper" games, the CIS League Cup 1st Round sees us making the trip to Cowdenbeath on Tuesday August 9th at 7.30pm - not the worst draw in the world but then again our record against lower-league opposition hasn't exactly been awe-inspiring in recent years.
Signings - No new signings but certainly an abundance of trialists at the club. Colin Meldrum left after not showing any patience waiting on a decision and the latest trialist keeper is Mark Paston(right), a New Zealand internationalist who had spells at Bradford and Walsall. 6ft 5 inches in height, he played in the Pars game yesterday and seemed to give a decent account of himself. Also on trial yesterday was "veteran" midfielder Darren Sheridan who played at Clyde last season. Oweny has said that he'll have talks with both players over the next few days and whilst the midfield seems a pretty crowded place these days, there's no denying that we need to sort out the goalkeeping situation ahead of the season opener next weekend. As for the other trialists, Scott Paterson, the former Arabs and Partick defender has been playing in some of the games is still in the reckoning as is ex-Bairns midfielder John Henry who has shown some promise on the pre-season tour.
Injuries - Now the bad news. Besided the usual minor knocks, we're going to be missing Kieran McAnespie for around a month after the winger was a silly boy and got himself a knee injury up in the Highlands. On crutches for most of last week, he underwent an exploratory operation on Thursday and is out for a month.
Other Crap - Those lovely people at Megabus have renewed their sponsorship of Saints for another year, with the new strips shown on the left as modelled by Kevin James (home) and Mark Campbell (away). Elsewhere there's not too much happening with the SFA / SPL Livi vs Scumdee saga dragging on through various appeals / court cases etc and continuing in it's own inimicable way to make a mockery of Scottish football - some things never change.
11th - With pre-season well under way, the rumours are starting as
to who could be on the way out of the club with
Owen Coyle(right) believed to be willing
to offload Kevin Rutkiewicz,
David Bagan and
Robert Sloan with perhaps only the
latter two having a case to feel a bit hard done by given the lack of
opportunities they've had.
Anyway unfortunately the Temple won't be able to bring you any more updates from the pre-season shenanigans since the delayed beach-recharging trip only gets underway later on today and the site is going to close down until July 23rd - and yes I know it means I'm missing all the exciting pre-season friendlies but I'm sure you'll all survive with the Official Saints Site for the latest gospel and Blue Heaven Fans Forum for the rest of the rumours.
July 10th - Saints comfortably won the first closed-doors game 4-1 against Stirling yesterday - goals came from Andy Jackson, Steven Milne, Steve McManus and Owen Coyle. Most of the squad including trialists got a runout with the exception of injury victimes Peter MacDonald, Kevin James and Kevin Fotheringham.
July 8th - No word on who the signing is - any move for Craig Easton has been denied in today's Courier. Either way they better get a move on since the Temple shuts down on Monday for the pre-season break (I know that means no pre-season reports either).
July 7th - The rumour mill is
picking up speed. As well as having Colin
Meldrum on trial we're being linked with ex-Arab and Livi midfielder
Craig Easton with the latter having
worked with Owen at Tannadump.
And one other piece of news is that the bookies have made us 3rd favourite for the title at 6/1.
July 6th - At last some
semi-interesting news. With the hunt for a keeper still ongoing (and the
first pre-season closed doors game against the Beanos this weekend), it
seems that ex-Livi keeper Colin Meldrum
is training with the boys.
Meanwhile freed defender Sean Webb re-signed for Ross County this week.
July 1st - Not too much in the papers today with most of the stories re-hashing the quotes from Simon Mensing and Owen.
Top Of News
June 30th - Pre-season training
is set to begin this morning and another new face will be at the club as
ex-Falkirk midfielder John Henry is
given training facilities and the chance to perhaps win a deal.
Owen Coyle said, "John Henry
will be joining us with a view to impressing. I know what he can do, but
he had an injury-plagued last season and I need to see that he can come
through pre-season to make a valuable addition to the squad.".
No word yet on any of the other major signings but ex-Saintee Ross Forsyth looks set to sign for Stirling Albion this week.
6pmSimon Mensing(right) signed a 2-yr contract this morning with the right-back's signature about the most predictable footie story of the summer. The new boy started training with the rest of the squad today and told the Official Site. "Saints are a big club and I spoke to Owen and was impressed by his ambitions to take the club forward and to progress as a manager in his own right. I had one or two other options but am more than happy to be coming to McDiarmid Park. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Clyde and they were very good to me. Its a different set-up there compared to what we have here at McDiarmid and the club did well to be among the front runners in the past couple of seasons."
"I've had a holiday in Crete with my girlfriend and have done a fair bit of road running since I came back so Im just looking to get the full pre-season routine underway now. We have a good squad here and Owen has already added some quality players and Im looking forward to being a part of his plans for the next couple of seasons."
And after today's session on the North Inch, Owen Coyle said, "Im delighted to have all the lads back. Footballers enjoy their break but they soon want to be back and in amongst the banter and the camaraderie of their team mates and this mornings session was very bubbly and vibrant. Myself, Jim and Atholl were very pleased with the level of fitness amongst the players and their attitude to the start of training and its clear that they have kept up good levels of fitness over the close season.". The players head to Scumdee tomorrow for their fitness test and the manager went on, "The new lads have come in and enjoyed it. It helps that most of them are not unknown to our lads anyway and Ill enjoy the next few weeks assessing them all and finding out who likes a laugh, who is loud, who is quiet and basically just working out all the different personalities. In any group of players there will always be a diverse range of players it would be boring if they were all the same!"
And of his new acquisition he said, "Simon is a tremendous acquisition. Ive known him for four or five years now and I know he will be an asset. Hes very versatile as well, which is a bonus. Along with the signings of Kevin James and Mark Campbell I feel we now have the physical presence in the squad that I stated we lacked last season. All these players are good footballers as well though dont be kidded into thinking its all about their physical build."....and he also confirmed that the search is still going on.
June 29th -
Owen Coyle is back from his holidays and
has spoken of the many transfer rumours doing the rounds (with a rumoured
ambitious signing apparently still set to be announced for the end of the
week). Simon Mensing has turned 23
and with no compensation due to Clyde is expected to sign by Friday
although there is some debate as to whether or not he's an "ambitious"
The Saints gaffer has denied the Alexander Mostovoi stories which seemed to have gathered Gazza-like urban legend status. However, he did admit he'd like to sign Allan McGregor although whether permanent or yet another bloody loan deal remains to be seen. The manager said, "Allan is one of a number of players who does interest me. " But there could be some departures with up to four of the currently signed players set to maybe move on. "I spoke to a few lads at the end of last season and told them I didnt know if they were going to be in my starting 11 this term and that if they could get fixed up elsewhere we wouldnt be hard to deal with."
28th - With pre-season looming and the groundstaff back at the club
today, it's obviously time for the hype to begin and first up was skipper
(and multiple TOSSA winner)
David Hannah(right). He spoke about the
opening league fixtures in today's PA, saying, "The fixture list
certainly makes for interesting reading and gives us a good chance to get
off to a better start than last season. It is quite a difficult opening -
I would even say it's harder than last year. But hopefully we can improve
our home form, which was pretty poor last season. It was very up and down,
playing well one week then badly the next. McDiarmid is a big pitch and we
need to take advantage of it. We really need to run teams into the ground
here." He's not looing forward to pre-season training starting at
the end of the week though. "It will be two weeks of hell! It's
what I dread the most out of the whole year. But I'm looking forward to
getting back to the ground and seeing the boys again at least it will get
me out of the house! We have to show more consistency but Im sure
the manager will be working on that. There are a lot of teams who will be
in contention. Hamilton have spent a lot of money and I think Airdrie and
St Mirren will be strong. But in general, I don't think theres a lot
of difference between six or seven of the teams in the league, which was
shown last season when they all beat each other. Falkirk ran away with it
last time but I feel it will be very tight this season."
Meanwhile Peaso also wants to see a solid home record. He said, "Hamilton will definitely be one of the best sides, along with ourselves, Dundee and St Mirren. Every match will be difficult but the important thing is to win your home games if you do that you are well on your way to success. I can't wait for the season to start. I have been getting my knee checked, but everything seems okay and I'm raring to go."
June 26th - It's that time of year again with the 2005 TOSSAs counted and awarded (honest it's not too painful to read). Thanks to all the folk that voted.
June 23rd - Well the 2005-06 Season Fixtures are finally out with Saints at home to Queen of the South for the league opener on August 6th. Plenty of decent games coming and SFA appeals notwithstanding, there's a chance to relive the 7-2 New Year's thrashing of a certain bunch of Coagies come Jan 2nd 2006.
June 22nd - With little
happening as we await a supposed "major" signing at the
end of the month, Oweny is in the papers
today saying he won't forget the kids. The Saints boss said, "I
have told the young lads they'll still get opportunities to show what they
can do.The likes of Stevie McManus,Andy Jackson and Willie Dyer all
appeared for the first team last season and did well. They and others will
get their chance again.In this day and age it is important for a club to
bring on youth.St Johnstone have always had good youngsters and long may
Meanwhile tomorrow sees the First Division fixture lists out. And don't forget to send in your 2005 TOSSA votes please - hopefully results will be out this or next Sunday.
June 18th - Gavin Swankie has turned down Saints and instead elected to risk his health and financial security in signing for that mob from Dens Park. Apart from that the only news is that Saints' home friendly on the 23rd July will be against the Pars.
June 17th -
Steven Milne has spoken of his move to
Saints. In today's Courier, the striker said, "It is great to be
back up the road. At Plymouth I missed five months through injury and it
did not really work out as I would have wanted. I know I can still play in
the SPL and I hope I can do that with St Johnstone. This is an SPL club
trapped in the wrong league but I am confident that can change. You only
have to look at the stadium and training facilities to realise this is a
big club. I am delighted to have signed a three-year contract as it gives
me a bit of security."
It seems that Oweny was one of the main factors behind his choice as well, "Owen really impressed me during the talks we hadhis enthusiasm is incredible. Obviously he feels I can do a job here and hopefully I can prove him right. The aim for this club is to win the league and get in to the SPLI am sure the manager will not mind me saying that as he is thinking the same thing. I think I have played against the manager a couple of times in the past and he is still a decent player who has scored goals everywhere he has been. I am sure I can learn a lot from him."
Saints are still interested in Gavin Swankie and Oweny also hinted at another signing before the end of the month (Simon Mensing anyone?)
16th - Some signing news at last today with ex-Scumdee striker
Steven "Savo" Milne(right)
completing his final quarantine session and signing a 3-yr deal with
Saints.After spending last year at Plymouth fighting over the pie crumbs
from Bobby Williamson he's elected to sign up for the
Oweny Revolution. And the manager was
pretty chuffed as well. Speaking on the Official Saints site he said, "This
signing came about as a result of a chance conversation I had last week
during which I learned that Steven might be available. We've done all in
our power as a club to move quickly and bring Steven to Perth and I
delighted to have succeeded. Steven is a proven goal scorer at SPL level,
I'm confident he can get goals for St Johnstone and I think the fans will
enjoy seeing him. He's just turned 25 so is at a good age. I said I wanted
a player that would complement the existing strikers (Peter MacDonald and
Stephen Dobbie) and I know I have found that player in Steven. He has a
different style of play to the others and I am now looking forward to
working with them and helping them grow and improve individually and
As for the remaining work he went on, "I would like another couple of new faces and the wheels are in motion but whether that is before or after pre-season training commences remains to be seen. I don't think it's any secret that I have also spoken to a few of the existing signed lads and mapped out my plans for the club to them and it may be that they move on. However, someone has to come I for them and if that doesn't happen then they will be here and I am sure they will do their best for the club."
15th - Oweny has opened
discussions with the latest transfer target
Gavin Swankie(right) but don't expect
anything to happen soon. The manager said of the out-of-contract winger,
"We spoke to Gavin on Monday but that was nothing more than a
preliminary chat because his representative is out of the country at the
moment. Because of the age he is at there would also be money due
Arbroath, so while he is someone we are certainly interested in, theres
a lot to weigh up."
As for Steven Milne we've admitted interest but Oweny warned, "We are in the market for a striker and his is a name thats been mentioned. But I dont even know if Steven is available and even if he is I dont know if we could afford him."
June 12th - More rumours of
signings with the latest names on the forums being Arbroath winger
Gavin Swankie and (less
substantiated) ex-Scumdee and current Plymouth striker
Steven Milne. Both certainly fit the
profile of yer typical Oweny target.
As for the manager himself the latest scandal revealed on Off the Ball was that in his interview at his house with the chairman he gave him Bisto instead of Kenco - I'm sure there's a song in there somewhere.
And finally if you want to see the new away kit head over to the Official Saints Site.
June 10th - Still little
happening with Oweny set to be patient -
he told the Courier, "I have two or three guys I would like to
bring to the club and am prepared to take my time to get them. You dont
sign anyone just for the sake of it and if we need to wait, then we need
Meanwhile a couple of freed players have found new clubs with Martyn Fotheringham joining Montrose and Jordan Tait signing up with Berwick Rangers.
June 8th - There's still no real
substantial news coming from the Hallowed Halls of McDiarmid.
Owen Coyle had popped his head up over
the parapet to warn that there may still be some departures from McDiarmid
with some of the under-contract players possibly moving as they say "on".
He said, "There are players under contract who might not feature
as much as they would like in my first team and I have had a chat with
them. I won't stand in their way if they want to move on. I don't think
it's healthy to have too many first team players who aren't in the
picture.". As for the in door he went on, "I am still
actively pursuing players, even if they are on holiday!".....so if
you spot a Saints gaffer stalking paparazzi-style ont he beaches of
Magaluf you know who it is!!!
Actually Oweny won't doing any stalking tomorrow night with the manager set to pop up on Off The Ball on Radio Scotland at 6pm
June 2nd - Another couple of pre-season friendlies have been announced. Saints are staying up North after their Inverurie match on the 16th and heading to play Cove Rangers on Monday 18th at 7.30pm. And later in the week there's the traditional pre-season Forfar match at Station Park - this year it's on Thursday July 21st at 7.30pm
June 1st - As you might expect there's sod all happening in the papers today with some OF story keeping Saints off the back page - so its time for a reminder to get your 2005 TOSSA vote in asap please - thanks to all who have voted so far, results should be out in a couple of weeks or so.
Top Of News
May 31st - Owen Coyle is in the Courier today speaking about signing Steven Anderson andKevin Cuthbert. The Saints gaffer told the paper both will be an "integral part of the squad", saying, "It is an opportunity for them both to make their claims for the starting 11. Kevin Cuthbert knows I am looking for another keeper and that will provide competition and he is very up for it. Steven Anderson can play anywhere along the back line and gives us a bit of depth in those positions ". As for the delay in getting things sorted he played down any conspiracy theories and said, "It was just a case of getting everyone sitting down together at the same time and, due to a variety of reasons, thats only just been able to happen."
May 30th - Some good news on the contract front with both Steven Anderson andKevin Cuthbert signing new deals until the end of next season.
May 27th - Left-sided midfielder
Neil "Scrabble" Janczyk was
a longer-term target of Saints according to Owen
Coyle in the Courier today. The manager said, "Over the
last two or three years he has caught my eye and when I came to St
Johnstone it was always in my mind that I would try to bring Neil here. Id
touched base with his representative Darren Jackson four or five weeks ago
so that he knew we were keen if Neil was to become available. Things then
moved along and we were in a position to sign him. I think the fact that
we had shown our interest early helped persuade him to come to Perth. Ive
spoken extensively to various people including Craig Levein, so I know
what we are getting and Im confident that he will be a valuable
addition to the squad here at McDiarmid Park.". He's described
his new signing as a "terrific passer who has great delivery on
set-plays." and went on, "Hes played in the
SPL and I told him that sometimes you have to take a step down to bounce
back up. Well give him a platform to show what he can do and I
was impressed by his hunger and desire to prove himself."
And even with Simon Mensing looking more and more likely to sign after his birthday, Owen Coyle is still in the hunt. He said, "Weve got a few in but we wont be stopping there. Im actively pursuing two or three others and hopefully we can make those transfers happen.".
Of the current squad, Steven Anderson is expected to sign a new deal in the next couple of days and talks are still ongoing with Kevin Cuthbert.
7.30pm- It's another home draw in the 1st round of the Bell's Challenge Cup for Saints with Alloa paying us a visit after dumping us out of the League Cup last year. It's a 3pm kick-off on July 30th for this one - and look on the bright side, at least season ticket holders get free entry....
26th - Not much to report again but Owen
Coyle seems to be optimistic that both
Steven Anderson and
Kevin Cuthbert will sign new deals in
the next few days. The manager told the Retard, "'We're not too
far apart and I'm optimistic they will both sign on again. But even if we
do get Kevin I am still in the market
for another keeper."
8pm - Neil Janczyk(right) signed a 2-yr deal with Saints this afternoon. Owen Coyle said of his new signing on the Official Site, "Neil is a player I have known for some time, I have watched him recently and Ive spoken extensively to various people including Craig Levein and so I know what we are getting and am confident that he will be a valuable addition to the staff here at McDiarmid Park.". And added to that we've got 3 new youngsters in left back John Black from Tranent, left winger Ross Fox from Denny and Perth striker Steven Doris.
25th - The rest of the world seems determined to concentrate on the
west coast happenings, but there is a wee mention in the Retard for us
today with Owen Coyle(right) warning us
about Scumdee (beyond the usual medical alarms that is). He said of the
newly-relegated, financially-crippled coagies, "'Dundee have
quality players and were very unfortunate to be relegated. Whichever team
came down from the SPL would be regarded as promotion favourites. But I'm
trying to build a squad here that will compete strongly next season and
more new faces will be coming in."
The first pre-season friendly has been set for Inverurie Locos on Saturday July 16th with a 3pm kick-off. And elsewhere, Saints have been linked with released Jambos central midfielder Neil Janczyk. The 22-yr old played understudy to Paul Hartley last season but limited appearances has seen him set to move on. Owen Coyle has been linked in today's Embra papers with a move and a rumoured 2-yr deal could be on the cards by the end of this week.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
May 24th - It's still fairly
quiet at McDiarmid. Steven Anderson
is reportedly set to sign a new deal with talks between the agent and the
club "not too far away" from agreement. Talks are also
ongoing with Kevin Cuthbert with
Owen Coyle hopeful the player will stay.
And the rumour-mill still reports that Simon
Mensing is set to sign although not for a couple of weeks!
One new face likely to join Saints for pre-season is Falkirk crock John Henry - despite missing most of last season through injury, Owen Coyle has offered him a chance to win a deal at Saints although nothing is guaranteed. The Saints manager said, "I played with John at Airdrie and Falkirk and hes a very talented player. The only problem is he missed most of last season through injury. Ive told him that if another club makes him a concrete offer he should take it. If not then he will join us for pre-season and well take things from there.".
May 20th - Little happening on
the market just now. Steven Anderson
has still to reply to his contract offer but
Kevin Cuthbert has turned down the
offer from Saints effectively leaving us without a goalkeeper - there's no
word on whether an improved deal will be offered to the player who some
might say was harshly treated over the last season.
Paul Bernard has turned down his offer
but discussions may still continue when he returns from holiday in a
Meanwhile there's a new leisure top going on sale at Asda's next Tuesday - details on the Official site. Well it'll keep us going until the inevitable delay getting the home strip.
May 18th - The exit door was in
action again yesterday with Paul Bernard
turning down the offer to remain at Saints and leaving the club.
Owen Coyle said in today's Courier, "Paul
has to look after his family, which I can understand. I was hoping we
could reach a solution, but we couldnt. I can understand that the
club were reluctant to offer the same terms for next season. A fully-fit
Paul Bernard would have played in my team every week, but we couldnt
be sure he wasnt going to be unlucky with injuries again.We
gave it our best shot but it wasnt to be and we move on.".
Elsewhere and Keyring has accepted his
The manager also hopes to hear from Kevin Cuthbert and Steven Anderson by the end of the week as to whether or not they'll be signing up.
6.30pm - As anticipated the club have also announced the prices of season tickets for the 2005-2006 campaign today. Early booking is available for renewals up to June 30th as usual and a Direct Debit facility is available. Also all season ticket holders can have their name added to the away jersey fabric next season but if you don't want a season ticket you can still do this for £25.
May 17th - More signings today
as Mark Baxter signed up for another 6
months and the Stephen Dobbie saga came
to a close with the striker signing a 2-yr deal. On the Official Site,
Owen Coyle said, "I'm delighted
to have these players on board. Like Kieran McAnespie,
Mark was injured for most of my short
spell here before the season ended but he has now been given the incentive
to secure a longer term deal by showing me what he can do in the remainder
of this year. He has to convince me that he wants to grab the opportunity
to be at St Johnstone. I was aware of him when he first broke into the
Saints team and the player will probably agree that he perhaps hasn't made
the progress he had hoped. My job now is to give him the confidence and
offer him a platform to show that he can progress further - after that
it's up to him." As for Dobbie,
he went on, "Stephen had intimated to me that he wanted to be
part of what I am trying to achieve here in Perth and considering that he
could have remained at Hibs for another year I was impressed by that. He
has great feet and an eye for goal and I think that if we can get him in
peak physical condition that we can get a lot of goals out of him next
Another striker might still be on the shopping list though - the manager said, "Dobbie and Peaso are quite similar in style so I may look to recruit someone who is a different type of striker to complement those two."
May 16th - Mixed fortunes for
the holidaymakers today as Owen Coyle
confirmed his plans. First surprise was Steven
Fraser who along with youngster Peter
Haugen was released. Chippy was
one of the bright lights from last close season but a spell at Montrose on
loan has seen him fail to progress.
Elsewhere and Keyring has been offered a six-month deal and Steven Anderson a 1-yr offer. And the Stephen Dobbie saga was set to enter another stage today with the striker in Perth for further talks with the manager with pen hopefully going to paper tomorrow.
May 15th - Right it's time. A boring Sunday after the season's over so get the pens out and send in the votes for the 2005 TOSSAs - yeah I know it's a nightmare having to relive the last 12 months in excruciating detail but look at it as being able to predict just how wonderful we'll be by this time next summer! Votes in by mid-June please and we'll see how optimistic we're going to be come the start of the 2005-06 campaign.
May 14th - Saints are being
linked with all and sundry just now with no real solid rumours. Forget
about Bryn Halliwell though, he signed for the Pars last night.
Away from the wheeling and dealing, two things to watch out for next week. The renewal letters for season tickets get sent out on Monday. A bit later than normal and no word on what increases have been applied either. And more importantly next week the voting starts for the 2005 TOSSA - well as soon as I can be arsed working out the positive slant on the questions that is!
May 12thAt last the first
signings are on board with Kevin James
and Mark Campbell signing 2-year and
1-year deals respectively. Owen Coyle
said on the Official Site, "I'm delighted to have brought these
players to the club. I've said that I felt we lacked a physical presence
and conceded too many soft goals and I see Kevin and Mark as a significant
step in sorting that out - they are both championship winners, will defend
vigorously for us and they have a good understanding of each other's play.
I played against them four times last season and even I only got one
goal!! I took a chance on Kevin and made enquiries with Falkirk about
whether they might let him go and whether he would be interested in
joining me - if you dont try, you'll never know - and similarly with
Mark I spoke regularly to 'Yogi' and Brian Rice to establish if they would
be offering him a deal and the minute it became apparent that they might
not be I made my interest known."
As for the Kevin Formerly Known As The Freak, he said, "I was made an offer by Falkirk but the terms of the deal together with the fact that I was informed that I would lose the captaincy meant that as a matter of principle I couldn't accept it. Owen then spoke to me and sold me on his ambition for St Johnstone. I like the sound of his ideas and of the calibre of player he is interested in and he showed a great desire to sign me = now that Ive actually put pen to paper maybe I'll maybe get him off the phone!"
Mark Campbell has a 12-month option on his deal and also praised the Saints gaffer saying, "As soon as I knew Owen was interested I was keen to make the move. St Johnstone are a big club and I want to be a part of helping them improve. I have a desire to play in the SPL and I want to do it with St Johnstone. I've a good understanding with Kevin so that will help."
As for the other signings, the manager said, "I want to send out a message about the quality of player I intend to bring to this club and hopefully securing the services of Falkirk's successful defence from last season will do that. I want to create a St Johnstone team to be proud of and this is the start of this process. I can assure the supporters that there will be no lack of effort on my part to bring in further quality and although I'm speaking to players and their representatives daily, it takes time.".
He's set to talk to Paul Bernard before the end of the week about the deal on offer to him and the Stephen Dobbie signing should hopefully be completed in the next few days.
May 11th - Kevin James is reported almost everywhere as being set to sign for us with Saints apparently offering him more cash than Falkirk. Nothing confirmed from our side of things yet but it's looking more and more likely that we'll see at least one new face at the club this week.
10th - With the guesswork well underway as to who's en route to
Saints Kevin James is the name that
keeps cropping up. The Lanky One has turned down an extension to his
contract at Falkirk and the Weans have released him due to an "offer
from another club", strongly believed to be Saints. No official word
on whether the 29-yr old (first name on the 2005-06
prospects page - no doubt more will be added this week) is coming
but expect something to happen sooner rather than later with the manager
expecting two or three deals to be concluded this week.
Owen Coyle meanwhile has spoken more about the Paul Bernard offer (believed to be a pay-as-you-play one) saying in today's Courier, "I thought he was the best player on the park against St Mirren on Saturday when he came on and it says a lot for him as a professional that he could play for half-an-hour after missing virtually the whole season, and play as well as he did. The problem we have is that this year he has only made two appearances. Ive had a talk with him to see if we can progress things. To offer Paul another year on the terms he is currently on would be a gamble. Weve spoken to see if we can reach a compromise and he has said that he will talk things over with his wife and come back in and see me tomorrow. He wants to be a part of things here and I want to get an agreement which will suit both parties. As a manager I would like him at St Johnstone but there has to be give and take on both sides."
As for the Stephen Dobbie situation, the manager said, "I think I can get Stephen fitter, but he has already shown that he is definitely a goal- scorer."
7.45pm Latest rumours tonight have defenders Mark Campbell of Falkirk and Simon Mensing from Clyde linked with Saints with the latter said to be set to sign in the next 48 hours. As for Stephen Dobbie, the latest is that he said, "Ive spoken to Hibs and theyve said I can go back there. But I want to play first-team football and thats what Ive been getting at St Johnstone"
9th- It's D-Day for most of the squad with
Owen Coyle set to announce who's staying
and who's for the off. Rumours galore including the manager having 7
players lined up on pre-contract deals as well, although it seems there's
no guarantee that even those players currently under contract will still
be here after the summer. More likely is that
Stephen Dobbie will be offered a deal
today with the on-loan Hibs man making no secret of his desire to stay at
McD on a permanent basis.
Paul Bernard(right) is also hoping for a deal and told the Courier, "A few weeks ago I thought I was leaving the club. After the injuries Ive had this season I think the chairman lost a bit of patience, and there wasnt going to be an offer. The new manager has been very positive and I think hes conveyed that to the board. I played against him in an FA Cup quarter- final and I think he knows what Im all about as a player and an individual. Hes been nothing but positive to me and the feeling is mutual. Hes turned the place around instantly. Hes said a number of times he would like to keep me here, but I dont know if the ultimate decision will lie with him or the chairman and the board. I can understand peoples reluctance, but I know myself there isnt a long- term problem. It has just been one of those seasons. I can see myself playing for a a few years yet, either here or elsewhere. Ill speak to the manager on Monday and well see what that brings. I was always conscious after Christmas that the season was ebbing away and it was great to be involved again before the end of the season, even if it was only for half an hour. Now Im concentrating on looking to the future."
As for Owen Coyle he said, "Ive been fortunate that Ive never been told Im not wanted, but thats what Ill have to tell some of the players. There needs to be a freshness in the squad. There seems to be an apathy at the club and I want it to be vibrant. Its fair to say there has been dialogue with a view to bringing in new players, and now the seasons finished we can start trying to sign them."
7.30pm - As expected, the changes began today. Saints parted company withChris Hay, David Cowan, Martyn Fotheringham, Sean Webb, Ross Forsyth(right) and the already-known-about Ian Maxwell, along with youngster Blair Batchelor. Of the leavers, Flash and Cowan are perhaps the biggest surprises with the former certainly improving recently - either way the Temple wishes them all the best for the future.
Of the remainder, Keyring, Steven Anderson and Steven Fraser are on holiday and the manager will let them know their fate later in the week. Mark Baxter and Kevin Cuthbert have been told they wil receive contract offers (believed to be 6-month deals) along with Paul Bernard (although his injury has caused some concern) - whether or not they accept them of course remains to be seen. The club are also chasing the signature of Stephen Dobbie with the Hibs seemingly set to be easy to deal with and the striker keen on a permanent move.
Owen Coyle was up front about today's events and told the Official Site, "This has been one of the hardest days in my football career. It's not nice having to tell guys who have families and obligations that they are no longer required but to be fair to them they were all great and wished me well in my efforts at Saints.". As for Paul Bernard, the manager went on, "I've had dialogue with Paul and I've told him I would like him at the club next season. However, the club obviously needs a return on its investment in Paul which they have not had this season and 'Bernie' realises this so we'll have another chat later in the week and see what we can do."...so that will just add to the uncertainty.
7th - Kieran McAnespie(right) is
out to make a good impression this morning and try and win a deal for next
year. The midfielder returns from his hamstring injury and told the
Courier, "For myself and a few others this is a massive game
because I want to show that Im good enough to get a new contract. Ive
trained for the last two days and Im available for selection. It
could be a 90-minute trial, or even less than that. My problem throughout
my career has been trying the hard pass all the time. The manager spoke to
me and said hed had reports on me, and they all said as much. Im
25-years-old now, and I need to learn. On the same day that the manager
joined the club my calf went in training. That meant I missed the Partick
Thistle match which he saw on video and the two games in which hes
been in charge. I could have pushed myself but there was no sense in
possibly making the injury worse."
"I definitely want to stay here. Everything Ive seen of the manager so far has been brilliant. The tempo of training has been up, and we work on passing and possession all the time. I love training but before, I wasnt enjoying coming in. It was lethargic and monotonous and the boys werent enjoying themselves. The manager isnt one of the boys, but he has a banter, and hell also not be slow to tell us when we need to improve. His enthusiasm is rubbing off on everybody. "
Owen Coyle says that the result this afternoon doesn't matter (even though defeat would see us finish 8th). "It would bother me if it was next year, but it doesnt bother me at the moment. I want to win football matches but the exercise weve been conducting has been assessing the squad and seeing what we need. I know that you will see a different St Johnstone side come July 30.". Final decisions and contract offers will be made next week about the players he wants to keep, and the manager went on, "Somebody could still make me take notice tomorrow. What I have seen over the last two matches is we dont have a commanding physical presence. Every time theres a set play we look like we could concede and thats something we have to totally eradicate. Ive got in mind where I want to strengthen the squad. Ive certainly laid down my markers and hopefully I will get these players to St Johnstone. "
7pm - In the end the game finished with a bit of a damp squib with a dull 0-0 draw ensuring we finished the league in 8th place - yet again the chants of "thank god for Partick" could be heard. Attention now moves to Monday with the first team players being brought into the club and told whether or not they have a future - expect the comings and goings to begin then.
6th - First up it's congratulations to reserve striker
Andy Jackson who thanks to Irish
grandparents has been called up by the Republic of Ireland U-17 squad for
a 2-game trip to Paris later this month. The manager said of the honour,
"Scotland were aware of Andy, but the Republic have been pleased
with what theyve seen of him. So have I, and its a great
compliment to the club that hes being considered. All credit to our
youth coach Tommy Campbell."
Latest team news for tomorrow is that injury victims Kieran McAnespie and Paul Bernard could be in line for a return as a last chance to impress Owen Coyle. And Ian Maxwell(right) looks set to play with the left-side of defence lacking in options according to the gaffer.
The defender himself was honest enough in the PA about his reasons for leaving Saints. He said, "Its been the worst kept secret in Scottish football! I was getting some stick at Dumfries last week from a minority of fans and it might be the same if Im selected this weekend. But at my age its water off a ducks back. Ive played for Saints for three years and if Im in against St Mirren I will give it 100% as usual. It would be nice to think supporters will wish me all the best after my time here but really I dont know what to expect from the fans. Ive enjoyed most of my time here. Last summer Gus MacPherson wanted to take me to St Mirren but I opted to stay in Perth. The season hasnt worked out the way Id hoped and under John Connolly there had been no discussions about a new deal. Even now theres a lot of the lads waiting to hear how their futures will pan out. Gus got back in touch in March and offered me a two year contract. After talking it over with my wife the security and a fresh challenge appealed to me. Ive also got a chance to do some work on the civil engineering front and cutting down on travel time will help. I have to start thinking about what Ill do after football."
"When the new gaffer came in I could have kept quiet about the pre-contract but I knew him from a short time together at Ross County. I wanted to be fair to him. I dont know if he would have wanted to keep me but that way he could get on with looking for another defender. It has been a disastrous season for the club after being third last year and being rated favourites for promotion. The last manager used a lot of players but I was a regular starter. I felt my own form was good for half the season but has dipped a bit in recent months. But that has nothing to do with the pre-contract. Obviously its not an ideal scenario, but Im still a St Johnstone player, theyre paying my wages and Ill play against St Mirren if the manager wants me in there."
And if you want something else to look forward to on Friday May 27th there's going to be a Scotland v England All-stars game at McDiarmid kick-off 7.45pm - see the Official Saints Site for details.
5th - Latest team news for Saturday is that
Peaso(right) is out after undergoing
surgery to tidy up his knee this week. Ryan
McCann has a broken toe and is unlikely to play, and
Steven Anderson is unlikely to play
as he recovers from his broken nose. Ryan
Stevenson is back and both him and Steve
McManus scored against Accies in a reserve 2-0 win on Tuesday with
the latter said to have impressed Owen Coyle.
As for Ian Maxwell, the Saints manager told the Courier, "Maxy explained to me that he hadnt been enjoying things here and that he hadnt been offered a new deal by St Johnstone, so he was well within his rights to sign a pre-contract agreement with St Mirren. He was up front with me and had the decency to explain himself, which is all I could ask. Thats why I played him in the two games Ive been in charge. He said that had he known what was going to happen, that would have changed things. So I suppose thats a back-handed compliment to me in a way. It all happened three or four weeks before I arrived, so unless I had been psychic while I was at Airdrie, there was nothing I could have done! ". With the done deal the case, it remains to be seen whether or not he'll play this weekend with Owen Coyle saying, "Ill need to see who we have available in that position. Its certainly not an ideal scenario that were playing against St Mirren. Having said that, hes still employed by this club. Hes a great professional and if he did play I would expect him to give his very best. There are 12 players out-of- contract in the summer and I said that if they sign a pre-contract all I would ask is that they have the courtesy to come and tell me."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
May 4th - Another quiet few days
but suddenly the transfer rumours have started. With the final game of the
season looming this weekend the player moves have started in earnest.Ian
Maxwell seems set to leave with a summer move to Love St on the
cards - which must surely rule him out of playing this weekend. Whilst
there won't be too much gnashing and wailing in the streets at his
departure, Maxie was always a trier on the park and he leaves with our
best wishes (just continue the own goals / red cards next year please!)
On the incoming front Owen Coyle has been linked with a two Clyde players - goalie Bryn Halliwell and defender Simon Mensing although the latter is also rumoured to be heading to Accies to team up again with Billy Reid.
May 1st - Not much to report today - another Media Falsehood about sums up yesterday.
Top Of News
30th- One player expecting to take some flak at Palmerston today is
ex-QOS midfielder David Bagan(right).
After leaving them under a bit of a cloud for Saints it's going to be his
first trip back and with Ryan Stevenson
suspended he could play on the right. Speaking to the Courier, he said,
"I suppose Ill get slaughtered whether Im starting or
on the bench, but that doesnt bother me. I enjoyed my time there and
Im looking forward to seeing all the boys again. It will add more
excitement to the game, especially at this stage of the season. The games
between St Johnstone and Queen of the South have been hard fought this
season and Im sure this one wont be dull and boring either. We
want to impress our new manager, and Queen of the South will be desperate
not to lose after the way John Connolly and myself left. Ive been in
that position myself when my contract was running out at Inverness and
John Robertson came in as the new manager. Its very difficult. Even
though Ive still got a year to go on my contract Ill be trying
my hardest to get in the new managers team for the start of next
season. For one reason or another this season has been a bit of a waste of
time for me. I was in and out of the team at Queen of the South and Ive
had injuries since. Im back fit now and hopefully I can do well in
these last two games, get a good pre- season and be ready to go at the
start of next season. "
Expect plenty of changes though and Oweny said, "I was going to make five or six changes for this game, because Im trying to give everybody an opportunity. You only find out about players in a match situation. You can be the best player in training from Monday to Friday but ultimately its on a Saturday that you have to deliver. Its one of the worst parts of football when youre coming out of contract. Nearly every year your job is coming up for renewal. This is when you have to show mental strength and play to the top of your game. I need to make an assessment based on three weeks. Ill be guided by people here but if I can see players in matches Ill have a better picture. Three weeks is better than nothing. I will be looking for the application and desire that was shown in the second half against Airdrie, allied to better passing. Making so many changes is not ideal, because continuity is one of the characteristics of a winning team, but its something I have to do. "
Elsewhere it looks like Stephen Dobbie and Chris Hay are going to be the starting partnership up front.
7.30pm - A poor, poor display as we lost 2-0 to QoS means we've sunk to 8th in the table - an absolute shambles and given how many players on the park were meant to be playing for new contracts today, the lack of effort was a disgrace.
April 29th- Expect the changes to be rung tomorrow. Steven Anderson is apparently ruled out along with the suspended Ryan Stevenson and Peaso. Oweny said in the Courier, "With 12 players coming out of contract at the end of the season, decisions have to be made and its important that, if possible, I give everyone an opportunity to show what they can do."
April 28th -
Oweny hasn't been able to fix up a game
this week.But the good news is that Steven
Anderson looks like he'll make it this weekend.
Meanwhile, off the park and the latest wheeze from Saints is for season ticket holders to get their names woven into the fabric of next season's away jersey - something Xara have already done elsewhere. Ach well it's something new I suppose.
More importantly the rumours have begun for the moves in the summer with Ian Maxwell reported to have signed a pre-contract agreement with St. Midden. And on the incoming side Partick's transfer-listed bad boy Jamie Mitchell has been linked with a move to Saints
April 26th - Latest news is that
Steven Anderson looks set to miss out
on this weekend's trip to Dumfries. After breaking his nose at the weekend
apparently there is still some swelling on his face.
Meanwhile Oweny is trying to organise a closed doors game for this week to run his eye over more of the squad with a view to next season.
25th - Well nobody can say our new manager isn't one for the
melodramatics with his post-match comments on Saturday fairly downbeat.
Speaking in the Courier, Oweny
said, "I was absolutely gutted for the players that we came away
from the game with nothing. We certainly didnt deserve to lose that
match. I thought Airdrie were the better team in the first half, but in
the end we looked the team likeliest to win and in the second half I
couldnt have asked for any more in terms of effort and application.
We had got a grip of the game and losing so late when we were pushing on
for a winner was a harsh lesson for the players to learn.".
He also revealed that Steven Anderson(right) has a suspected broken nose and as for Ryan Stevenson's red card he commented, "I thought Ryan was a bit unfortunate the second yellow card was for a tackle that was mis-timed rather than anything malicious and I just feel that its a shame a player can end up sent off in those circumstances."
Elsewhere and Kieran McAnespie is due back in training before the end of the season. He said, "I should be back in training this week and that will give me a chance to show what I can do to the manager. Ive got to prove myself and it will be down to me to train well and hopefully get a chance next weekend. The manager will have opinions already from playing against us, and from what hes heard, so hopefully hell have a decent opinion of me. Training has been brilliant and the guys have been very upbeat since he has come in. Id love to stay here and be a part of the managers plans. Hes said to us that if were not part of his plans hell let us know. He was up front about that, which the players appreciate."
23rd - With today's game marking the start of hopefully a
successful reign under King Oweny, some
more stories of the previous manager are coming to light with
Ryan Stevenson admitting yesterday
that he was set to leave Saints in the summer after being told he had no
future at the club. A return to the first team last weekend and the
morale-boosting training this week under the new boss has changed his mind
and he's set to see out his contract next year.
Steven Anderson is another who is
relishing the chance to impress the new boss and get a new contract sorted
out - after all it was Oweny who made
him captain of the Arabs U-21s.
Stephen Dobbie(right) is another who's in the papers today. According to the Courier, the on-loan striker is open to a permanent move to Saints but it all depends on what Hibs want to do. He said, "It is up to Hibs whether I go back there next year and I will just have to wait and see what happens. We had a great result last week and it was good to get the goal, especially with the new manager coming in. But he will have his own ideas and I dont even know yet if I fit in with them. Ive not spoken to anyone at Hibs. Ive just been concentrating on getting fit and getting a few games and hopefully goals and well take it from there. This is a big club, a Premier club, and Ive really enjoyed my time here so far. I know the gaffer said he was impressed with last week and you cant have too many people saying nice things about you, especially the manager of a big club like this. Ill just have to wait and see how things pan out, both at Hibs and here, this summer."
As for the manager he said, "Its a good thing Im not able to play because it means Im in the stand or dug-out taking stock of what we have rather than in the thick of the action. What I have seen so far I have been impressed with. Stephen Dobbie looks a player whos hungry to get goals and Peaso who I rate as possibly the best striker in this leagueis the same. Im just in the door and it is too early for me to judge anybody but I have been impressed with Stephen in training and now he has to show what he can do on the pitch. Ive played with players before who are fantastic in training and then, for whatever reason, theyve not done it on a Saturday. It would be unfair of me to make decisions based just on training and thats why these three games are a good opportunity for me. Last week was terrific and secured our first division status so we can build on that and I can see the lads play without pressure and see which ones want to play for this club. "
Expect the same starting line-up today - David Hannah is still a doubt and Kieran McAnespie is set to miss out with a hamstring strain
7pm - A rotten performance saw us lose 1-2 to Airdrie with Stephen Dobbie's goal one of the few cheery moments of the afternoon. Not so good for Steven Anderson who went off early with a head knock and Ryan Stevenson whose first-team comeback has been ended abruptly thanks to two bookings and red card today - he joins Peaso on the banned list next weekend.
22nd - Don't expect too many changes in the starting line-up
tomorrow. Oweny told the Courier today,
"It would be unfair for me to come in and start making changes
after the lads have won 4-0. So, barring injuries, the team will be along
similar lines. Im told that if we win it will be our first home win
of 2005. We want to make McDiarmid a place where were looking to win
regularly and give us a platform for success."
And miracle of miracles, Paul Bernard(right) (remember him!) returned to training this week and his new manager said, "Its been a frustrating season for Paul. Like any player he just wants to play, and it was great to see him back in training. To be fair, he looked really good and it was as if hed never been away. Hes been a top footballer and we want top footballers at this club. ". And he was just as full of praise for the reserve side who gubbed Montrose this week saying, "The application and effort was exactly what Im looking for. Ill be arranging a couple of closed-doors games before the end of the season so I can keep looking at the squad. No disrespect to Montrose reserves, but hopefully they will be against Premier League opposition so I can gauge the standard better."
April 21st - Some extra half-time entertainment to look forward to this weekend as the U-19s will get a chance to parade the Reserve championship trophy during the break at the Airdrie game. And Oweny plans a couple of closed-doors game before the end of the season to allow everyone at the club to get a fair chance to impress him and win a new deal.
April 20th - It was an easy win for the reserves at Montrose last night, with Saints running out 5-0 winners with goals from Martyn Fotheringham(2), David Bagan, Chris Hay and Ross Forsyth
April 19th - It's been
relatively quiet - Oweny assumed his
duties yesterday morning and had the players out on a training session
with a reserve game at Montrose tonight. The manager said in today's
Courier, "Whether its in the first team, the reserves or
day to day training everyone will get their chance. Its a clean
slate and everyone will get a fair crack of the whip. Different managers
can think different things about players. The reserves play at
Montrose tomorrow night and that will give an opportunity to the boys who
didnt play on Saturday. Ive been given the tape of the Partick
match so Ive seen the whole 90 minutes, and I was very impressed. It
was four goals going on six or seven. I also couldnt have been more
impressed with training today. Everything was played at a high tempo.
There was a zest about the lads and hopefully that will continue.
Jim Weir and Atholl Henderson did a great
job on Saturday and Im delighted that weve secured our
position in the first division. The pressure is off and Ive told the
players that they can now relax and enjoy their football over the next
three weeks. If they impress they will have a chance to stay at St
As for the squad being strengthened he went on, "It would be remiss of me not to say that there are a few players who I know could improve the club. I have players in mind.".
And it's congratulations to youngster Paddy Deary who got the manager in the players' sweepstake! David Hannah (who had Ally McCoist) said after resuming training yesterday following his spell in hospital, "I got the infection after I blocked a shot and it broke the skin. I woke up on Wednesday morning with my hand three or four times the size it should have been which was a bit worrying, and I went into the hospital on the Wednesday and it spread up my arm. Then I had to get penicillin through a drip. I wanted to play but there was never a real chance of that and it was great to see the boys get such a good result. Now well be looking to finish the season with three wins"
6.30pm - It's also been revealed that Kieran McAnespie tweaked his hamstring last week so missed the trip to Wegieland - he should be back in training this week. Not so good news for Peter MacDonald though whose booking at the weekend means he misses the QoS match on the 30th.
And finally the latest report according to the PA is that Oweny has already got a pre-season tour of the highlands pencilled in for July.
16th - Well surprise, surprise there's no lack of press coverage
today for Saints - well more for the new manager(right).
In the Courier, Geoff Brown has laid
down some early targets for the new boss saying, "Weve got
far too big a squad and that will have to change. Owen knows players he
would like and knows who is out of contract in the summer and who isnt.
He also has the advantage of having played against us so he should have a
good idea about the players here."
Oweny himself told the paper, "Hopefully the team will get the result against Partick Thistle tomorrow which will secure our position in the league and then we can plan for next season. I was offered the Falkirk job two years ago but had given my word to Ian McCall that I would go to Dundee United with him. I feel that Ive had a terrific grounding in coaching over the last five years Ive played in the top divisions in Scotland and England and for the Republic of Ireland, and Im hoping to put that learning curve to good use. It was flattering that St Johnstone wanted me for the job because I understand there was a high standard of candidate. Ultimately that will count for nothing though and I will have to deliver. I dont envisage playing as many games next season. I would hope that if I can entice a couple of players Ive got in mind I wont have to play much. But Im six short of 300 goals and Id like to think I can weigh in with at least six next season." - he's ineligible to play for us this season. As for the squad, he went on, "You have in your mind who is a good player from playing against them, but you never know for sure until you work with them. Its only fair I assess the players here and thats why the next three weeks will be important. I was never the most naturally gifted player in the world but I always worked my socks off. And that's the attitude I'll be expecting from the St Johnstone players when I take over as manager on Monday morning. "
Meanwhile the club has confirmed that Jim Weir's role as assistant is only guaranteed until his contract expires at the end of the season, then it's up to the manager.
For today David Hannah is ruled out now after having to stay in hospital overnight. Jim Weir said, "The infection has travelled from his hand up his arm and they have put him on a drip to clear the infection. Hell be in hospital overnight tonight."
6.30pm - Three from Peter MacDonald and a strike from Stephen Dobbie saw us run out traditional 4-0 winners at Firhill as Saints ran riot against one of the poorest Partick sides I've ever seen. The result keeps us safe and moves us up a couple of places into the bargain.
15th - Little in the papers this morning again with only the Retard
carrying a small piece about an injury scare to
David Hannah. He was taken to hospital
with a hand injury but Jim The Janny is
hopeful he'll make the trip to Firhill tomorrow. He said, "We're
hoping it's not serious and David can play with a protective bandage."
- unfortunately no gory details available.
4.30pmOwen Coyle was appointed Saints manager on a 2-yr contract this afternoon. Jim Weir will remain as assistant and be in charge tomorrow, with the new manager assuming his duties on Monday. After a day full of rumours (Falkirk assistant Brian Rice's name was mentioned at one poinr), the surprise appointment was announced this afternoon - yup the 38-yr old striker who has caused us so much grief over the years has taken over the hotseat after a playing career that spanned Airdrie, Bolton, the Arabs and umpteen other clubs before his current spell at Airdrie this season. Not the most popular of players with Saints fans at least we know that the new manager will generate plenty of PR (the Retard love him) as well as possibly passing a few tips onto the front men as to how to get the wee round thing between the sticks.
At the press conference, Geoff Brown said "Owen is a well known and respected figure in the game and we intend to tap into his contacts resulting in improved performances on the park and the appearance at McDiarmid Park of a squad of players that we can be proud of once again. Owen has cost this club a great deal of money in the past. When he moved from Clydebank to Airdrie for £175,000 I had the then Saints manager looking for me to spend similar amounts of cash! Owen has been a nuisance to Saints on the park as well over the years with the number of goals he has scored against us so its good to finally have him on our side."
The new manager (though playing hasn't been ruled out completely) said, "I dont envisage playing as many games as I have been up until now but I may have a part to play at some point. If I can entice a couple of players I have in mind to come to the club then Ill be needed even less. Ive had a chat with Jim already. Hes a great St Johnstone man and I dont envisage any problems with working with him.". In terms of his career he went on, "I see it as the next stage of my development. Ive been joint-manager with John Hughes at Falkirk, taken charge of Dundee Uniteds reserves and been assistant at Airdrie United so Im delighted to now get this opportunity to be my own man. Everything here at McDiarmid Park is tailor made for SPL football. First we must ensure that we retain our First Division status this season and then I would look to be challenging next season."
EDITORIAL (Again) - Well that one was a bit of a bloody shock wasn't it? I mean Owen Feckin Coyle. No matter how you look at it, this appointment is a big gamble for the chairman and the club. Owen Feckin Coyle (sorry old habits die hard) will have a lot of work to do to win over the Saints supporters (almost the opposite of his predecessor in fact) and while his credentials are good along with his wee black book (as Geoff insisted), there is going to be a lot of pressure on the new man to both make his mark at the club and show that we've turned the corner next season. And of course next week's penultimate home match has just taken on a whole new meaning with the visit of Airdrie. While I'm going to have to obviously revise some opinions, name-checks and description of the new manager's playing abilities, I wish him all the best in the job - just let's avoid the "Owen Our Way" headlines?
As for tomorrow, despite being tagged as favourites, Jim The Janny is expecting a tough time as Partick fight for their Division One survival. He said on the official site, "Dick Campbell is a well respected manager and he will be using the recent problems as a spur to get the players to produce a good performance against us. They still have some quality players and we will have to produce a good performance ourselves to ensure that we come back up the road with something. My only interest is in how we perform and were determined to give the fans who travel down something to shout about."
Finally, on a more serious note, there's going to be a charity collection at Firhill tomorrow for ex-Saints and Partick Thistle skipper Don McVicar, now sadly suffering from motor neurone disease at the age of just 42. The aim is to try and raise £5000 to purchase a massage seat to ease his pain. And speaking of his ex-captain, who led Saints during the 1989-90 promotion campaign, former Partick manager John Lambie said, "I signed Don for the simple qualities he had.He was passionate and an out-and-out winner. When he put on a Partick Thistle jersey he was 100 per cent.He was the first player I ever signed who had a long throw. It was like a corner. Don was up to all the capers. He wouldn't think twice about taking apart your sink when we were away training somewhere but he was a pleasure to manage and I'm sure the people at St Johnstone will say the same.I met Don at Airdrie last year and didn't even recognise him. I had a tear in my eye. I couldn't believe this had happened to aguy who was as fit as could be."Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
April 14th - There's still very little happening. Applications for the manager's job are still pouring in seemingly so don't expect someone in place for the weekend. Meanwhile the lads played a closed-doors game away to Dumbarton earlier in the week with the 2-0 win seeing some of the fringe first-team players getting a run out.
April 12th -
Geoff Brown meanwhile says he's
impressed by the quality of the 35!!! applicants so far. In
today's Courier he says, "From that list a number of the
candidates can be described as very good. We will go through them
thoroughly and make sure we get the right man for St Johnstone. There is
no need to panic and rush into appointing someone. We will take our time
and see what develops.". The list includes some apparently big
names from England but given the contacts prerequisite they're not
expected to be successful.
Latest name in the frame is Welshman Leighton James (at least according to the Retard). Elsewhere Terry Butcher at Motherwell has denied Maurice Malpas is one of the names.
Elsewhere and Kevin Rutkiewicz, Kevin Fotheringham and Paul Bernard have finally been ruled out for the rest of the season. Whether they'll even be here next season remains to be seen.
Jim The Janny knows we have to improve
next week if we're to secure our future next season (and possibly relegate
Fissel into the bargain). Speaking after Saturday's draw, he told the
Courier, "We would have liked to have taken maximum points to
have taken the pressure off in next week's game, but we now have to make
sure we have the right attitude for that one. We edged it in chances and
Stephen Dobbie was maybe a bit guilty,
but they would have gone in on another day to be fair. It was a good
result as Raith Rovers did everyone a wee favour and I couldnt fault
my guys for effort after a difficult week. I had to pick them up and get a
positive reaction, which I got."
Meanwhile on the Official Site, Paul Sheerin's view was just as optimistic. He said, "We have to be reasonably happy with the weekend results. It wasn't the best of performances but we avoided defeat. We can't and won't be complacent but you would have to think that a ten point gap with twelve to play for should be enough for us to stay out of things at the bottom. A win or a draw at their place on Saturday will secure things at that has to be our aim. Second place looks beyond us now but we have to be aiming for third or fourth. If we can avoid defeat at Partick then we can maybe relax a bit and aim for full points from the remaining games to try and get us up the league table a bit.". As for the game he went on, "I was delighted to be involved again. There is nothing worse than training all week and then not being involved on match day so it was good to be straight back in. Jim had indicated on the Thursday that I may be involved and we worked on a few things in advance of the game. I was encouraged to come a bit deeper and get involved in passing the ball more. Jim is encouraging us to play a more passing style and there were spells on Saturday when I think we achieved that and created a few chances but obviously the finishing wasn't there." There's no word on the manager but from the players' perspective, the midfielder said, "It's a waiting game for all of us just now. I'm fortunate in the respect that I am contracted for next season but obviously it's an unsettling time for many of the others although conversely it's an interesting time because some of the players who were told they had no future at the club by John Connolly may now have a chance to stake a claim to stay."
Kieran McAnespie has been the first
player to poke his head above the parapet following the events of this
week. Speaking in the Courier ahead of today's game he said, "The
manager wished us all the best and said what hed said all along,
that he thinks weve got one of the best squads in the league and
that we need to realise our potential. We were all in it together and you
do feel bad that we hadnt performed for him. I can only speak about
my time here, but we went six games undefeated without conceding a goal
then lost heavily to Ross County, which hit us for six. I dont know
why weve been so inconsistent since then. " - no word on a
successor yet so expect plenty of eyes to be trained on the West Stand
today to see who's watching the game.
As for the game, Jim The Janny wants us to play to our strengths. "The one thing were stressing to the players is we need to pass the ball better and not hit so many high balls. We dont have the players for that type of game. We have to play to our strengths. In our game against Clyde recently we went about things the right way from the outset. We passed it really well that night and should have won."
6.30pm - A pretty dull 0-0 draw with Clyde saw Saints play a lot better than last week without showing the killer touch. Elsewhere Partick's defeat at Raith mean that a point next week will finally see us clear of the "R" word.
April 8th- Some good news for a
change and youngsters Steve McManus
andKevin Moon have signed new 1-yr deals
to stick with Saints.
Meanwhile the only new managerial candidate information is that applications have come from Iceland, Holland and England. So make of that what you want.
6pm - Tomorrow sees Clyde visit and Saints are at full strength with only the usual long-term vicitms missing. Jim The Janny previewed the game on the Official site and said, "The preparation has gone well and the players have all worked hard for me. We've spoken about their approach to the game and we will have another wee chat tomorrow and hopefully the things we have been working on all week will be put into practice tomorrow afternoon. There may well be a couple of alterations. I feel we need a couple of more experienced players in there just now to get the result and fresh legs are important too." He also pleaded for the fans to turn out and back the team saying, "Everyone will have their own opinions about this weeks events or about me as a person and a coach but it's the players that matter and I have told them of the manner I expect them to approach the game and if they do that then supporters will see a team working hard for each other and with the belief that they can win the game. All I would ask in return is that the fans turn out and get right behind the boys irrespective of how the game is going."
April 7th- Not too much to report today - the Courier concentrating on the Blue Heaven Fans Forum poll for a new manager. There was an informal board meeting on Tuesday but don't expect a new manager before the weekend with the applications still pouring in.
April 6th- Last night's reserve
game saw Saints comeback in the 2nd half to win 2-1 thanks to goals from
Chris Hay and
Back to the hunt for a new manager and Stewart Duff says the club won't be rushed into a decision with all applicants being carefully considered. He told the Courier, "We will look at all the applications that come in and consider all of them. We will then sit down and discuss things as a board towards the end of the week and take it from there.". The papers are again emphasising though that a big factor in the new boss's appointment will be the size of his wee black book with a good contact list and knowledge of the Scottish game a majore requirement.
Meanwhile over at the Retard, Geoff Brown has been interviewed about his ruthlessness when it comes to dealing with failure on the park. He says, "We've mainly had downs instead of ups since Paul Sturrock left McDiarmid Park but I keep going because I'm a local guy and St Johnstone is my local club. I'll stand aside one day if someone comes along who loves the club and will act in its best interests - and I won't be interested in making money out of the deal. I didn't pay a penny to gain control of St Johnstone because I did it through a rights issue and I'm still here because I am the custodian of the club. As long as I'm here, there will be no foreigners coming in to bleed the club's assets. I'll know instinctively who's right to replace me and I'll know because Perth's a small place and there aren't many folk I don't know."
He also had a dig at the fans saying, "The biggest change that has occurred within the game since I came into football has been the fact it is now about supporters and sponsors more than anything else. If you don't give them what they want in terms of success on the park they desert you and it's virtually impossible to get them back once they've gone. They're not interested in taking the rough with the smooth any more. As the club chairman, I have to understand there's bad and then there's awful. And this season I have endured the worst performances on the park in all my years in charge of the club. We have 30 full-time players and we need to make a living - anything else is intolerable.". Looking ahead to the new appointment he went on, "Now we have quite an array of applicants and I can afford to wait until next week to make a decision on who takes over because we're under no pressure. Next season we could be playing in a league minus Partick Thistle and Falkirk due to relegation and promotion. One of the best ways to compensate for the loss of their fans is to find a manager who can generate even bigger home crowds to watch St Johnstone because of their success on the park. Our money comes in the main from letting out our car park, hiring out our astro-turf pitch and using all of our suites as conference facilities. But I want an individual who can guide us on the park. My image is distorted because there have only been eight managers at the club in my time in charge. The good ones last longest in my experience."
7pm - The applications for the manager's job are apparently pouring in with some surprising and not-so-surprising names in the frame. Depending on who you read either Ian McCall or Alan Kernaghan are favourites but amongst the other applications is believed to be one from Colin Miller, another ex-player, who's now coaching in Canada, along with several names from south of the border.
Jim The Janny though is in charge and was happy with the reserve win last night. He said, "We created loads of chances, passed the ball better and the work rate was excellent. It's given me food for thought for Saturdays home first-team game against Clyde.". However it's not all great news and he said that "one or two players picked up slight knocks last night and we'll have to wait and see how they are."
5th - As you'd expect, press coverage of
John Connolly's departure is
widespread. The Courier has Alan Kernaghan
and Allan Preston as favourites. The
paper also links McCall, Billy Reid and Gus McPherson
with the candidate list. THere's more quotes from
Geoff Brown(right) on the sacking. He
said, "What comes over loud and clear is its not always
what you know, it can be about who you know. At Queen of the South, John
was able to pick up players from the north-east of England but that hasnt
been possible here. Its almost certain no-one will be in place
before Saturdays game against Clyde. Hopefully that result will mean
theres no urgency. This time we will be a bit more thorough and get
to know the background and experience of the individuals. Certainly, no
decision has been made yet."
Jim Weir meanwhile paid tribute to his former boss saying, "The chairmans asked me to take the team while he thinks things over and Im happy to do that. I feel that the job might need a bit more experience. Im not saying I dont want to manage the club, far from it, because for me thats the next step. I might need to develop my coaching skills elsewhere, though. My immediate goal is to get the players up for Saturday and get the fans behind us. Ive had a chat with the players and Ive got them behind me, and hopefully we can get things going. Im gutted for John because he gave me a chance as a coach. He worked hard here but unfortunately these things happen in football."
Over at the Retard, Paul Lambert is being hyped up but Maurice Malpas is the other name in the frame, though it's Shuggy Keevins doing the writing so it's as objective as you might think - especially since the same paper has Alan Kernaghan as a star of our promotion campaign in 96-97!!!
8.15pm - Latest news is that the PA has Alan Kernaghan as the favourite for the job along with Allan Preston with McCall and Malpas both described as outsiders although the latter was a Sturrock recommendation last season when Connolly took over. Meanwhile Jim "The Janny" Weir was putting the squad through their paces ahead of a reserve game tonight and Saturday's critical match. Speaking on the Official site, he said, "Things were a wee bit subdued early on this morning but the lads have buckled down well and will be back out after lunch. Everyone will be off tomorrow and then Thursday and Friday will be about making final preparation for the visit of Clyde." The reserves were playing Cowdenbeath tonight and he went on, "Every match is important to me and the players involved tonight will, as always, be getting the opportunity to get their name in the frame for a first team jersey. Thats important at any time but particularly so now because of the events of the past 24 hours. Myself and whoever comes in to replace John will have an open mind on what individuals can do for this club and decisions about personnel for next season will follow on from that."
4th - Well it all happened today then. It was major shockeroonie
time (as Scotsport would say) this morning when
John Connolly(right) was sacked as
Saints manager. Whilst this season had been a lot more disappointing than
any of us expected, the majority of Saints supporters expected the manager
to be given until the summer at least. But Saturday's capitulation to
Falkirk along with the abysmal record of only one win in 2005 was deemed
to be the last straw for Geoff Brown
and the board. Connolly hadn't even
been in charge a year and despite the good PR image (largely on his
obvious love for the club) there were plenty of issues off the park which
have become more and more of an issue over the season - from coaching
being allegedly left to the inexperienced Jim
Weir and some debatable man-management skills which saw several of
his signings from last summer leave the club rapidly, criticising the
Geoff Brown didn't hold back with his reasons for the sacking of Connolly (who's the 2nd shortest reigning Saints boss). The chairman said on the Official Saints Site, "This is the worst season the club has had in the past sixteen years and I felt it was important to take this step. As a Board of Directors we want to be seen as a forward-thinking club but first round exits in the CIS Cup and Scottish Cup and a current league position which does not yet see us out of the woods as far as relegation is concerned is a cause for great concern. Perhaps more significantly, we had 300 season tickets holders who didn't turn up for the last home game and that tells its own story. John tried hard and brought in a lot of players but unfortunately he has not had success in getting a settled team together and the performances since Christmas have been very poor. That said, there are a number of good players at the club and that is thanks to John." He went on, "The Board and the supporters believed that we had made the right decision last May when we appointed John but this season has been the worst in the past 16 seasons by a long way and seven points from the last thirty available - and the only victory in that time against a struggling Raith Rovers team - didn't suggest to us that things were coming together for the next campaign. John is an honest guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. I've no complaints about his work rate and I'm just very sad that it hasn't worked out.". He confirmed that Jim Weir(bottom right) is in charge in a caretaker role but whilst the chairman says we won't be rushed into a replacement, it's hard to imagine Saints being allowed to go too long without a long-term replacement. The new caretaker has already said he doesn't want to be considered for a permanent promotion to boss. As for the next man in the hotseat speculation is already well underway with ex-Saints defender Alan Kernaghan the main name in the frame - he was at Falkirk on Saturday for the home side so must be a prime candidate (as well as being a relatively cheap option). Clyde boss Billy Reid is already quoted in the press today as being disappointed at the Cumbernauld club's new leasing scheme. Other names in the frame are ex-Arabs boss Ian McCall and Jocky Scott or Neale Cooper. Oh aye and Gordon Smith has proclaimed that Paul Lambert is interested in the Saints job which would be more than a wee gamble (at least the meedja would luv us though).
Meanwhile the now ex-manager spoke this afternoon of his departure from the club. He said on the Official Saints Site, "My over-riding emotions are ones of sadness and disappointment that things did not work out. As a manager you always know that the day will come when you part company with a club but its a huge disappointment that it has come for me at Saints so soon. Im totally confident in my ability as a manager and Im just hugely frustrated that following a very successful time with the club as a player I have not been able to deliver to the fans as a manager. The Chairman runs the club in the right manner and ensures that the club is financially sound. The difficulty is that there is a fine line between running the club soundly and being able to afford the bit of quality that is needed to get the club out of this league. I think Ive come in at the hardest possible time in that respect and Ive done the best that I can. However, the one thing that Saints fans can be assured of is that the way Geoff runs things there will always be a St Johnstone Football Club. This is the lowest day of my career. I love the club and I waited a long time to get the chance to become manager and thats what hurts the most. However, Im optimistic by nature and Im planning to have a few weeks away from the game before considering my options. I have a lot of nice family-related trips and visits planned and that will be an excellent tonic. There are some good young players at the club and as people know we have just won the Under 19 league so there is reason to be optimistic. I would wish to place on record my thanks to all the players and coaches for all their work and particularly to the fans for the support they have given me."
So with another manager away it's time for the now-annual EDITORIAL. I'll admit that I wasn't 100% sure about John Connolly's appointment a year ago - too much emphasis was being placed on his time as a player at the club. However a good pre-season and the signing of some (at the time) good prospects had the optimism rising. Even if we were all writing this season off as a time of rebuilding, the downturn in performances since the turn of the year has been nothing sort of shocking. Combine that with the apparent man-management problems and turnaround in the squad (especially with the number of his own signings that have left under a cloud) , it's understandable that the club have taken this step. Make no mistake, we'll be crucified again in the media for the decision but in my mind the only surprise of the whole affair is that it didn't happen 2 weeks ago. I wish John Connolly all the best for the future, certainly he can't be faulted for effort or on the PR side of things. But as always the club comes first and unfortunately his managerial ability was found wanting.
7.15pm - Latest report on the BBC has McCall as the favourite for the job with the other front-runners being Alan Kernaghan and Allan Preston. Quotes are as follows:
McCall - "I'm flattered to be linked with the job. I'm an out-of-work manager and my record stands up to anybody. If the St Johnstone chairman wants to have a chat, I would do that."
Alan Kernaghan - "Of course I would be interested in taking that job. I wouldn't have thought it would frighten some people off because there is so much promise there. They have a good tradition and have the backing from their chairman, so it's a great opportunity for anybody. It's unfortunate the way it has came about with John going, but the new manager will have to go and try to change it quickly, but it doesn't hold any fears for me ."
Allan Preston - "I spent seven years there and they were very successful and memorable years having got to Europe, winning the First Division and getting into the Premier League. It's sad for John, but who wouldn't want to be manager at St Johnstone? So it's a club that's obviously very close to my heart and, whoever gets that, is going to get a top job, but it will be difficult considering some of the people that will want it. "
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
April 2nd - Skipper
David Hannah is another looking for a
Broadwood-style performance today. Speaking to the Courier, he said, "It
was a very good performance at Clyde and if we can repeat that then we can
take something from this match. We played a different system at Broadwood
and the manager changed the personnel, but at the end of the day too many
players, including myself, simply hadnt performed well enough in the
Ross County match the Saturday before. Everybody did much better in the
Clyde match and basically thats what it came down to. I actually
thought we played them off the park. We now have to show that on a regular
basis. We cant afford to have only five or six playing well against
a team like Falkirk and to be carrying anybody, we need a full team
playing well again."
John Connolly meanwhile is hoping to get some of the younger players' contracts sorted out soon with Steve McManus and Kevin Moon the targets for new deals. He said, "Well be speaking to them on Monday and hopefully get something sorted out from there."
6.30pm - In the end it was too much to hope for and Saints went down 3-0 at Falkirk with the only light on a dull day being Partick's defeat to anchor them firmly in 9th place.
1st- Kevin Rutkiewicz(right) is
undergoing an op today to clear up his knee which will rule him out for
"the short-term". Elsewhere both
David Bagan and
Chris Hay both trained yesterday after
problems of their own but they're unlikely to make the trip to Falkirk
tomorrow. So that'll be anyone else's guess for the team selection then.
Keyring meanwhile reckons the new youngsters are going to make life difficult for the Weans at the Home of the Wendy House. He said in today's PA, "This is my first time back at Falkirk since making the move to Perth earlier in the season and I was telling the lads it's a great pitch to play on. But I took a caning from them. They were wondering if I'd ever played on it. They were claiming the closest I got to it was warm-ups! It will be nice going back and it would be even nicer to get a win. They can't clinch the championship but there should be a decent crowd. I felt like a veteran against Clyde because there were so many youngsters in the side that night. They reminded me of myself before I went south. They really like a moan at each other. The gaffer says if there was a league for moaners we'd win it by a country mile! But it's not a bad thing. It can work in your favour as long as everyone is pulling together. There are some really good prospects here." Whilst nobody's signed a new deal this week, Keyring is looking for a new deal. He went on, "We should be taking a lot of encouragement from the performance at Clyde. Falkirk are a good passing and moving team inspired by Russell Latapy. He'll walk away with player of the year in this division. They've had a few draws recently but they'll win the title. But we'd like a win and we can get it if we come up with the sort of performance we put in at Broadwood. We beat Clyde and Partick back to back soon after I arrived but the last match was the most fluent we have been since I came back. The manager is looking for that standard every week but ideally we'd combine it with taking three points. We were disappointed at just getting a point against Clyde."
Team-wise and John Connolly looks like fielding the same side that got a point at Broadwood. He said, "Right now I'm thinking of give the same team another chance. It was a very young side one of the youngest most fans can recall but they responded well to the challenge at Clyde. Listing them against Falkirk certainly won't concern me. They turned in mature performances against Clyde, giving us freshness and enthusiasm. They played without fear. Willie Dyer completed his first full 90 minutes and Steve McManus has only had a handful of games. But a teenager like Steven Anderson has been a first team regular. They're good enough to warrant a starting jersey.. And the 4-5-1 formation looks like being the preferred option. "It puts a lot of onus on Kieran McAnespie and Ryan McCann getting forward quickly to support the front man. They worked hard and I thought Peter MacDonald held the ball up as well as he's done in any game for us this season. It was an encouraging display and ideally we'd have had another game hard on its heels. At times during the season we've set a standard and we have to match the one produced last time out. The youngsters should be relishing the challenge of matching themselves against players of the quality of Russell Latapy. At 17 or 18 they should be pressing for a first team place. With squads being trimmed back at clubs across the country they will get more of a chance. It should be good for the game in the long run."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
Top Of News
March 31st - John Connolly is looking ahead to next season and has revealed that the main squad will be cut drastically with a much greater reliance on the U-19s that won their league (and who have at least shown some fight when given the chance!). Speaking in the PA he said, "Several youngsters have had a taste of the first team and there is likely to be more onus on them next time round. Like most clubs from the SPL down maybe with the exception of Gretna we will have to operate with fewer senior professionals. Falkirk have shown what can be achieved with two or three players who stand out at this level. We have to add an edge to what we have here. The finances still have to stack up and like many clubs I think well be operating with a squad of 18 to 20, backed up by young Skillseekers. Its great for the club to win the U19 league because rivals like St Mirren, Partick and Falkirk all take part. We have already tapped into the U19s and thats the problem which faces youth coaches they lose their best players. There are a few in with a chance and theyll be encouraged to make the grade here."
March 30th - David Bagan and Kevin Rutkiewicz will miss out on the trip to Falkirk. The former will return to training tomorrow after a spell out with his hamstring strain but is apparently not going to be fit enough for the match against the league leaders. Chris Hay is also a doubt - he's on anti-biotics after some sinus problems.
28th - The squad was reduced further today with
Jordan Tait(right) leaving Saints. Signed
at the start of the season he's failed to hold down a starting place and
leaves "by mutual consent". The Temple wants to wish him
all the best for the future.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
March 26th - Little happening but it's congratulations to the U-19s who won their league thanks to St Midden blowing their last chance against Partick yesterday.
March 25th - With a free weekend ahead, there's little to report. David Bagan should be fit for next week's trip to Falkirk - whether or not he gets a starting jersey remains to be seen. John Connolly said, "David is still receiving treatment but it should not be a long-term problem and he should be available for the Falkirk match.". And Kevin Rutkiewicz who missed out on Tuesday due to a knee injury is still receiving treatment.
March 24th - Tickets are on sale for the trip to Falkirk next week with Saints fans being charged £15 for ther "privelige" of sitting in the marquee - remember that next time the Weans complain about prices at McDiarmid. Anyway if you're feeling masochistic season ticket holders can get their tickets at the ground today or tomorrow and a general sale starts next week. Just think we'll get to stare out over the empty new stand at the other end of the park!!!
March 23rd - As you might expect, John Connolly was full of praise for the kids last night. On the Official site, he said of the game, "I was delighted with the response from the players. I've been quick to criticise them when things have not gone well such as Saturday's performance against Ross County but every one of them deserves praise for last night's display. Without doubt that was the best passing football we have played in my time at the club. I would suggest that it was actually of a better quality than what we played in the matches at Partick Thistle and Hamilton where we won 4-0 and 3-0 respectively. My only disappointment is that it was done away from McDiarmid Park and the home supporters didn't see it but I was pleased for the core fans who did go to Broadwood and the applause at the end would indicate that they were happy with what they saw." Of the goal we lost and the chance missed at the end he said, "Craig knows he should have done better with the goal because he got the wall lined-up correctly but then took one step to his right to try to protect any shot over the wall rather than concentrate on protecting his nearest post. He's gutted about it but he'll learn from that and he has headed away with the Scotland Under 21 squad with our best wishes. The chance at the end was frustrating but Peaso just didn't catch the ball right as he attempted to play Stephen Dobbie in. I was sorry for him as I thought he had a great game and worked so hard." As for the younger players he said, "The defence last night contained an 18 year old, a 19 year old and 23 year old. In midfield Steve McManus is still just 17 and Robert Sloan is just 21. We had two 19 year olds on the bench. I think that augurs well."
22nd- Ian Maxwell(right) is the
man in the pre-match stories talking about how Saints need to improve and
other blatantly obvious statements. In the Courier, the defender said of
the extra training on Sunday, "The manager wasnt happy and
he had every right not to be happy. Our performance wasnt good
enough by any stretch of the imagination. You have to accept coming in on
a Sunday when you havent played well as a team and the manager got
us in to improve a few things for the Clyde game, and hopefully it has
helped us. Were not getting things right at either end. We hardly
had a shot on target against Ross County and lost two bad goals. Going
back to our good form of December, the forwards knew then that there was a
good chance that one goal would be enough to win a game. Now theyre
thinking the chances are that we could lose goals, while defenders are
wondering where a goal is coming from."
As for the next few games, he said, "Weve got two games against Clyde and matches against Falkirk and Partick Thistle. Games we were expected to winlike Hamilton and Ross County at homewe havent, so maybe these are the type of fixtures we need to get us going again. Hopefully, Clyde used up all of their goals for the week by scoring four against Airdrie and we can get the win that we need."
John Connolly wasn't mincing his words though. He said, "Im not bothered whether they were receptive to it. Weve got points to get on board and if it takes them coming in every Sunday from now until the end of the season, well do it. All we can do is prepare them properly, but once theyre out on the pitch they have to show more character. Weve lost a lot of goals this season straight after half time and it happened again on Saturday. You wonder if its worthwhile having a half-time team talk because some of the things were saying to these guys are not sinking in. The four goals we have conceded in our last two home games have been easily preventable and we will be concentrating on improving on that in the next few weeks."
Finally congratulations to Willie Dyer and Andy Jackson have signed new deals with Saints for one and two years respectively.
11.00pm - Well the kids were played tonight and what a difference as Steve McManus(right) gave us the lead before Alex Burns equalised in a 1-1 draw at Broadwood with the result a major disappointment given the quality of the performance from the much-changed Saints side.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
21st- Under-fire John
Connolly(right) is still taking the glass half-full attitude towards
tomorrow night's trip to Broadwood, although for a change the squad were
in for extra training yesterday. Speaking in the Courier, he said, "I
could have played in that team today. You saw Ross County pressing the
ball, but there were guys out there strolling about and we werent
closing them down, so the effort and commitment werent nearly
enough. If we lose the game but the fans have seen total commitment, they
can live with that, but when they dont see that, they have every
right to be disappointed. "...apparently the manager also left
the dressing room early in case he said something he might regret. Is it
any wonder then that the players don't appreciate the damage they're doing
to the club?
David Hannah at least was honest enough. He said, "It wasnt good enough, but you couldnt legislate for the two goals that we lost. It was 0-0 at half time and again, within a few minutes, we fail to deal with a corner in the six-yard box and then gift a second goal to them. We cant keep making these mistakes collectively because its about the fifth time weve lost a goal just after the break."
5.30pm- Elsewhere on the Official Saints site, the manager is still trying to boost the players ahead of the Broadwood game tomorrow night. "We must show more character, particularly at home where we are disappointing the supporters big time. What particularly angered me was that the heads went down when they lost the first goal and they need to show better attitude than that. They showed more determination the previous week when they came back from a goal down at Raith Rovers but failed on Saturday. Both the goals were preventable and to yet again lose one so early after half-time was most disappointing. It immediately undid all the work of a first half in which Alex Smith and I agreed that they were the better side for the opening 20 minutes or so but we finished the stronger as half time approached. We simply have to get back to defending better."
Confirmation though that David Bagan is likely to miss out tomorrow after picking up a strain on Saturday.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
John Connolly, being as optimistic as
ever, reckons three points today will see us safe. Speaking in the
Courier, he said, "If we win this match, thats probably it.
It kills everything regarding relegation as far as were concerned.
All the teams below us have got to play each other, and the sheer number
of teams down there means that they cant all go on a run. Weve
had three opportunities to make life easier for ourselvesat home to
Partick Thistle, Queen of the South and Hamiltonand not taken them.
Now we have to do it tomorrow. We came back from a very difficult
situation at 1-0 down and the players showed their determination in those
circumstances. They would have lost the game if they didnt. It was
all about the result and I never thought for one minute that it would be a
pretty game. Well hopefully show the same character today."
David Hannah's groin is apparently now located in his shoulder and it's that part of the skipper's anatomy that's giving him problems - he's a real doubt for this afternoon. Stephen Dobbie looks set to start on the bench with the manager saying, "Hes not ready to start a game, but he could certainly give us half an hour."
6.30pm - Another total disgrace today as Saints lost 2-0 to Ross County in a performance which was simply shocking. It has to be asked now whether Saints would be better cutting their losses given the apparent inability of the current management to turn things round. The boos during and after the game today summed up what most Saints fans (those that can be bothered going any more) are feeling - the players are letting us down on the park but the plain fact is that they are being given the opportunity to do so by the current management. We are well and truly back in the shit tonight and have two very tough games coming up and even the most optimistic Saints fan believes we'll be lucky to escape those with no point.s GET IT FUCKING SORTED CONNOLLY!
18th - David Hannah(right) is
apparently a doubt for tomorrow's game with what's described as a niggling
groin injury. No word on Peaso
although his broken finger was apparently giving some concern. But it has
been confirmed that Stephen Dobbie will
feature at some point tomorrow.
And just in case you want to feel all nostalgic for the days when we played sexy football and clocked up great wins, the club shop tomorrow are selling limited edition T-shirts priced at £15 which commemorate a certain New Years Win - think of it as inspiration for the players.
5.30pm - Back to tomorrow and Stephen Dobbie is set to possibly team up with Peaso and is looking forward to his debut after Monday night's reserve game. The on-loan striker said in today's PA, "I felt good and could have made it through the full 90 minutes. There's been no reaction and I'm hoping to be involved against County. It was nice to get a goal, even if was from the spot. I just grabbed the ball and no one argued! When I hurt the ankle I worried I'd miss out on the rest of the season. That flashed through my mind. But the way things have worked out I've only missed a few matches and there are still eight left. I'm ready to play if the manager wants me and I'm gagging to make the most of first team football. I got off to a bad start with the injury but I came here to play and score goals for St Johnstone. There's still time to make an impression."
Jim Weir backup up the striker saying, "Stephen's ahead of schedule and he's worked hard along with physio Nick Summersgill to get back quicker than expected. We thought he might never kick a ball for the club after picking up the ankle injury. Obviously he's short of match practice but Stephen will certainly figure in the manager's plans.". As for the rest of the team the assistant manager believes the rest of the side have to show the same fight tomorrow. "We came back from going a goal down and after going seven games without a win we got back on track. The players showed the character required and the youngsters showed up well. It was the defeat in Dingwall which ended a great run in December. Everything they hit went in that day and the scoreline flattered them. But we are desperate to make up for that one. Like winning, losing can become a habit. So it was vitally important we posted that win in Kirkcaldy. It's only one victory and the task now for the players is to take things forward. We have eased the pressure a bit but there's no way we can ease off and think we're safe and sound. This is one strange, strange league. We still need the results to ensure we aren't dragged into a dogfight in the last few weeks of the season. We need the wins to build towards third place."
Meanwhile there are some unhappy members of the squad.
Ryan McCann was stuck in the stand last
week along with David Cowan and with an
extended deal on offer, the latter is having to think things through
carefully. He said, "I was really disappointed to miss out last
week. I came here to play first team football and if anything it will make
me even more determined. After all I've been through with the legbreak at
Motherwell this is a minor blip. It was a surprise to be dropped but these
things happen in football. Obviously I want to be involved against Ross
County but it's not my decision. I'm here until the end of the season and
there's a lot going through my mind right now. I want to be part of the
first team plans and I've been getting that message since I signed. Being
dropped won't effect my confidence. I've been through far too much to let
it get to me. I'm keeping things in perspective."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
March 16th -
Stephen Dobbie looks set for at least a
spot on the bench this weekend. John
Connolly said, "Having him and
Peaso up front together will give us
a really potent strikeforce for the rest of the season".
Peaso has had surgery for a broken
finger sustained at Raith (probably extracting it from his arse), but is
expected to be fit for the County game this weekend.
The manager, though has admitted there's unlikely to be any new faces at Saints ahead of the transfer deadline on March 31st.
March 15th - Saints reserves chalked up a good 5-0 win against Arbroath last night with goals from Chris Hay(2), Ryan Stevenson, Kieran McAnespie and a late penalty from Stephen Dobbie who returned to action along with Martyn Fotheringham.
March 14th -
John Connolly was a relieved man
after Saturday's game. He told the Courier, "It was a big win for
us and did a lot to allay our own relegation fears. I was delighted to get
results from some of the younger players who are, after all, the future of
the club. I was particularly pleased with the performances of
Ryan Stevenson and
Andy Jackson and of course
Kieran McAnespie, who scored within
seconds of coming on. Im not saying there was clever stuff out there
from everyone though. All the parks are drying up now and it was
windy as well but for us it was all about just getting a win and we
managed that. " - Raith meanwhile are in most of the papers
whinging about what they thought was a perfectly valid goal with the score
tied at 1-1.
Latest reports meanwhile suggest that out-of-favour midfielder Ryan Stevenson could be on his way out of the club this week with a move to Ayr Utd being touted in the Sunday papers - the same sources have also linked Saints with a move for QoS 24-yr old midfielder Brian McColligan.
12th - With the understatement of the week (and showing no sign of
deviating from the club line), bad-boy Peaso(right)
told the Courier that the trip down to Kirkcaldy today will be an
important one. "Its a big game for us but also for Raith
because if they lose they are effectively relegated, but weve to go
for the three points and nothing less. There shouldnt be talk of
relegation with a club this size. We should be in the premier league but
things havent worked out that way. Im sure well avoid
relegation and then we can focus on next season. Weve got to focus
on each game as it comes and we cant look to Falkirks and Clydes
above usits all about Raith Rovers and weve got to go
there and do a job."
Teamwise there's little new to report - teenage centre-half Willie Dyer is added to the squad although whether it's him or the out-of-favour Kevin Rutkiewicz who replaced the suspended Sean Webb remains to be seen.
6.45pm - Steven Anderson and Kieran McAnespie were the heroes as we won 2-1 at Raith with the performance still leaving a helluva lot to be desired. Still results elsewhere saw QoS the only other side to pick up maximum points so we're two points nearer safety tonight. And there was a plus in the performances of Willie Dyer and Andy Jackson with the former playing for 75 minutes and the latter getting a runout from the bench.
March 11th - The big news today
is that there are strong reports that striker Michael
Moore is set to return to Stranraer after all. The deal
would require special permission from the SFA since the player is
returning to his previous employers within 12 months but with
John Connolly struggling to get a
working striking partnership, it seems as though
Moorie is going to be the sacrificial
Of course given the injury and form problems up front this is going to leave us short-handed. Latest names in the frame for a joker move to Saints are Derek Lilley and Colin McMenamin.
Meanwhile it's the usual pleas from the manager ahead of tomorrow's big game at Raith. Speaking on the Official site he said, "I know its an old cliché but until we get the points we need, all the games have to be treated like cup finals. Nobody is more aware than I am that form since the turn of the year has not been good enough but its a time when we all have to pull together management, players, directors and supporters. The supporters have been fantastic all season long, particularly away from home and I would ask for solid backing at Starks Park. Once the Raith game is over we need the fans to do what Ill be asking the players to do and prepare for the Ross County game like it was another cup final and clear previous disappointing home form from their minds and pull together for 90 minutes to overcome that hurdle. I understand the concern at recent form but I really do believe that we should all be looking at things more positively, seeing that we are only a few wins from absolute safety and targeting a high finish in the league dont forget we have a game in hand over both St Mirren and Airdrie United.". No new team news with Peaso returning to the team and confirmation that pending the red tape, Michael Moore will be playing for Stranraer this weekend.
5.30pm- Confirmation from Stranraer that Michael Moore has rejoined them leaving us short on strikers again tomorrow.
10th - Despite the hints earlier in the week (well it made the
Retard), John Connolly is now leaning
towards not playing Andy Jackson(right)
at the weekend. In today's Courier he said, "There is no doubt
Andy is knocking on the door of the first team but it is a bit off the
mark to say he will be starting against Raith. We have Peaso back after
suspension which is a good boost for us and this could be a game for
players with experience." - which of course has served us well so
Stephen Dobbie and Kevin Fotheringham are set to return for the reserves next week but won't be in contention for Saturday.
March 9th - Well no conference yesterday but at least we got an update on the injury situation with Stephen Dobbie yet to resume training after falling victim to the McD virus. There was some good news with Martyn Fotheringham resuming training, possibly in time to almost get a spot on the bench before the end of the season given current team selection criteria.
March 8th - There's strong rumours of a press conference today and with 2 joker signings still to be made, odds are it's either a new signing (with Geoff Brown set to break the wage structure if stories are to be believed) or else a big behind the scenes announcement. John Connolly wasn't saying anything in the Courier though with the heads-down-below-the-parapet attitude the prevalent one. He did allude to the current situation though saying, "We have nine games still to play and those will be nine cup finals. So we must get back on a winning thread. " - and the comments on the supporters are still coming with the manager saying, "I have always thought the definition of a supporter is someone who supports the team through thick and thin. It was maybe easy to be singing and shouting us on when we were winning five out of six games back in December. The last thing we want is for the players to be getting pelters. The fans have been great all season and this is not a criticism of them. It is more of a call to get behind the team at a time when we really need them."
7th - With a wonderful sense of occasion, club captain
David Hannah(right) has decided to
undergo a "wake up and smell the coffee" revelation
following Saturday's defeat. Speaking in the Courier he said, "That
results brings Hamilton back into the pack and certainly puts a lot of
pressure on us to get a victory next week at Raith Rovers. Its all
tightened up, and next weeks game is one we definitely need to take
three points from. Our first-half performance was not acceptable. In the
second half, with 10 men, we played better but we cant give the ball
away the way we did in the first half. Were working hard in training
but we have to be a lot sharper in games. "
John Connolly, meanwhile may not be able to put his finger on what's wrong but made another plea for the fans this weekend. He said, "That performance was nowhere near good enough and the players have been told that. Every game from now on will test the bottle and character of this side. This is where we need the supporters more than ever. Were going to need them big time. "..one might argue that they need a kick up the arse first.
March 6th - As you can expect the manager isn't full of praise today although it has to also be said that he's getting his fair share of the stick from the fans online. Anyway in the Sunday Mail John Connolly commented on yesterday's humiliating defeat saying, 'Obviously the red card knackered us a bit but the first half performance was nowhere good enough. It's hard to put your finger on it. We've gone from December when we went six games without losing a goal and looking like a reasonable side to where we are today. I said before the game that if we lost this one we were right in the mire and we are. Every club from St Mirren down is. It will test the mettle and the bottle in the last nine games. But if we play like that in those matches we will be in big trouble. We short changed the fans big time today. The players are now playing for their futures."
March 5th- One candidate for a
striking role today is Robert Sloan and
the winger told the Courier, "Wide left is probably my natural
position but because of injuries I was played up front at Alloa and I did
quite well, scoring eight goals in 15 games. I enjoyed playing through the
middle and Id be happy to play there again if Im asked. If I
could score as many goals again it would be great.". And after a
spell in the reserves, he reckons he's ready for a starting jersey. "Im
getting close to peak fitness now and Id feel ready to do a much
better job tomorrow if selected."
6.30pm - Another total disgrace of a performance saw Saints lose 2-0 to Accies and only results elsewhere prevented us dropping down the league although we're getting pulled into the relegation zone. And added to that was the sight of Sean Webb becoming the latest Saints player to be dismissed for being an arsehole.
4thNo real team news for tomorrow. With
Peaso sitting in the corner wearing
the big pointy hat with a "D" on it for being a daft eejit a
fortnight ago it's going to be Moorie(right)
and Hay up front to bang in the 20 or so
goals we know the boys have been saving up this year.
John Connolly meanwhile made a plea in the PA for the fans to come out and back the side after the disappointments since the turn of the year. He said, "We werent the only club with fans desperate to win the title and right now Partick Thistle are in a relegation spot, seven points behind us. Queen of the South and Ross County lost at home in midweek and its clogged up in the middle of the table. But if we can win this weekend and follow it up with another victory at Kirkcaldy, we should be comfortable. This is a massive game for Hamilton and for us. Looking at the weekend fixtures, theyre all that way. We are going all out for maximum points and while the hardcore fans have been great to us all season, Im asking the others to come along and get behind us." As for the striking options, he went on, "Theres not a great deal of thinking to be done as far as the strikeforce is concerned. But they are experienced first team players and natural strikers. They will be keen to prove a point and I know they have the quality and ability to do the job. We have played Accies four times already this season and havent lost. They have changed their squad recently but I want that record to continue."
Moorie meanwhile has spoken about being dropped for the WW3 match. "I was really disappointed because I felt Id played well against Queen of the South. It hurt even more because Im from Paisley. I want to be selected and playing because of my form, not because of injury and suspension to others. When chances come my way Ill have to take them. You have to be on your toes for the opportunities and hopefully theyll come my way this weekend. Accies have been picking up good results, including a draw at Falkirk, and both the teams which came up this season have added to the competition in the league. We want to win this game to avoid sinking into the fight at the bottom. Apart from Falkirk and Clyde, everyone is still looking over their shoulders. It will be tricky, but we have to show the right attitude to get all three points."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
March 2nd - Saints have confirmed that both Steven Anderson and David Cowan have been offered new deals beyond this summer.
March 1st - After yesterday's
comments that Stranraer wouldn't match our valuation of
Michael Moore the Stranraer manager Neil
Watt now seems to think they had matched it and the reason the sale didn't
go ahead was Peaso's suspension - he
told the Courier, "We have been speaking to Saints over the last
couple of weeks and held discussions with John Connolly. An initial offer
was made by the club for the player which Saints said did not match their
valuation. They told us their price and the club matched it. Unfortunately
before a deal could be finalised they had a player who was sent off last
week suspended for a few games and Dobbie picked up an injury that ruled
him out for a set amount of time. This put pressure on the agreement and
unfortunately a deal for Michael Moore has broken down and does not appear
to be an option for us at present.". Either way it seems like no
one is now guaranteed a future at Saints.
Elsewhere and Stephen Dobbie could be set for an early return with next week pencilled in for a resumption of training.
Top Of News
28th - After another quiet few days courtesy of our cup departure,
Saints have started planning for this weekend's visit of Accies in a game
which is rapidly turning into a must-win if only to get us back on track.
John Connolly said on the
Official Saints Site, "The
weekend off will have done the squad no harm, particularly as we are still
trying to shake off the tail end of the virus which has been doing the
rounds for a couple of months now. With Hamilton also having had no game
at the weekend both teams should go into this Saturdays fixture
fresh.". Peaso is suspended
andStephen Dobbie injured though and
the manager confirmed that Saints had rejected a move for
Michael Moore(right) from his previous
employers. He said, "Stranraer did make us an offer for Michael
but I don't want to leave us any shorter up front that we already are and
that apart, the offer from them did not meet our valuation of Michael.
'Moorie' and Chris Hay are the only two
experienced strikers I have available this week although young
Andy Jackson will obviously be
considered as will Robert Sloan and
Kieran McAnespie both of who have
played up front at some point in their careers."
As for the game he said, "I have targeted the players with finishing in second place and were working hard to make sure we achieve that but were not daft - we know there is a lot of work to do and that virtually every side from St Mirren downwards has to get a few wins under their belts to ease any worries but were looking up rather than down and will be ready to take on a rejuvenated Hamilton side that will come to Perth determined to put further pressure on Partick Thistle and others."
February 25th - Well it's been a hotbed of excitement this week going by the news from McD but John Connolly popped his head over the parapet in today's Courier to confirm the deadly plague seems to have died out at the club. He said, "The majority of the lads who were off earlier in the week are now back training, but they are still feeling the effects. My hope is that by the time the weekend is over everyone will be fit again and well have the full week to prepare for our next game."
February 22nd- No final decision
has been reached yet on Peaso in
terms of an internal fine but the player is banned for the Accies game on
March 5th and is now just one booking away from a lengthier ban.
John Connolly said in today's
Courier, "I will take my time to watch the video footage of the
challenge then if we decide to act it will be done internally. Peter has
held his hands up and accepted it was a bad one but what I would say is
that it was out of character. He is not someone who has a bad disciplinary
Meanwhile there are no new injuries after the Paisley draw.
6pm - As if things aren't bad enough at Saints, the dreaded plague has returned (no doubt in a new Paisley-derived mutation). Several players missed training today and John Connolly said, "It's maybe a blessing in disguise that we have no game this Saturday, as it gives us a chance to get healthy prior to our home fixture against Hamilton a week on Saturday." Whilst there were hopes that Stephen Dobbie might return it looks like being too soon for him. The manager went on,"Chris Hay did OK on Saturday at St Mirren and Michael Moore can come in. And Robert Sloan and Kieran McAnespie can play up front, too, so we have options in that department. Young Andy Jackson has been cracking in the goals for the U-19s and he, too, can come in"
February 20th - With the Paisley mob going into overdrive in the media, John Connolly isn't making any rash decisions about Peaso. He said in the Sunday Mail, "This game certainly seems to have an edge to it. Peaso will get his punishment with the suspension but I will wait until Monday before we look at it again. It is too early to decide or say anything although Peaso did deserve to go. I don't know where it came from and strangely enough it all kicked off the last time in the last minute here. I don't know what sparked it off but we hope the lad is okay." (well of course he is after a "miraculous" recovery once the Saints player was off the park).
19th - Ian Maxwell(right) is
the latest player to go public with his desire to stay at Saints. The
defender said in today's Courier, "On a personal level this has
probably been my most consistent season for the club, and the six clean
sheets in a row obviously helped. When I came here there were a lot of
guys who had come down from the Premier League, but now Im probably
the most experienced player in the back four. Ive not spoken to
anybody yet about a new contract but I hope the club will speak to me in
the not too distant future. Im happy here, its a good dressing
room and Im settled at the club. The fact that Im playing
every week is obviously a big thing as well. You dont want to be
going into the last couple of months of the season not knowing either way.
You dont want to hear that youre not wanted, but at least you
would know that you have to look elsewhere. The last year of a contract is
all about doing well enough to earn a new deal, even more so when you get
to February-March time."
As for this afternoon's fun and games he remembered the last encounter when Saints finished with 8 men. "I didnt play that day but it was a strange one to watch. It was Sean Webb's first game and he got sent off, then Michael Moore and Eddie Malone were a bit daft to get their red cards"
John Connolly expects a tight game though. "There has only been one goal between the two teams in our previous two matches and I dont think there will be a lot in this match either. From St Mirren down everybody is looking to get those six or seven points that will give us breathing space. Thats not pessimism, its realism. When second bottom is on 28 points everybody has to stay focused. The target is still to catch Clyde though, who have a massive fixture pile-up in the next few weeks."
7pm - Another lively encounter at Love St finished 1-1 with Peaso again the man in the headlines with a 13th minute goal and a straight red card in injury-time after a clash left Millen injured. Mind you, the Paisley player made a miraculous recovery to try and kill Peaso within 60 seconds. Suffice to say that relations won't have thawed out too much between the clubs.
18th - Saints have let teenage defender
Stephen Fraser(right) head off to
Montrose for the rest of the season on loan. He had a spell at Arbroath
towards the end of 2004 but John Connolly
wants him to gain more first team experience. And another ex-Saint heading
to Brechin this time is Emmanuel Panther
who has left the delights of Firhill for Brechin until the summer.
And there was some good news on the injury side of things with Stephen Dobbie making a quicker recovery than expected and set to be back in 3-4 weeks. John Connolly told the Courier, "The swelling has settled down and hes walking freely. It will be a case of assessing the injury week by week but were hoping that it will heal a lot quicker than six to eight weeks which was the first assessment."
Looking ahead to tomorrow's trip to Love St and the news is that Kevin Fotheringham is more than likely to miss out leaving Ross Forsyth as the man likely to handle the left-back slot. Better news though for David Hannah and Ian Maxwell with both set to recover from their minor knocks to make the trip west along with Chris Hay.
February 17th - Guess what - little happening in the papers this morning as well. Steven Anderson has been offered a new one-year deal and Stewart Duff told the Courier, "We want to keep him and hope- fully hell accept our offer but the ball is in his court.". That could see Mark Baxter move on in the summer - latest rumour doing the rounds in Perth is that he's heading to Partick in the summer.
February 16th- Not much news
today. Despite the reports at the weekend Saints have denied any interest
whatsoever in Graeme Gibson. Meanwhile
Stephen Dobbie is hopeful of being back
for the last half-dozen games of the season. He said in yesterday's PA,
"We were having a training game between ourselves when Jordan
Tait and I went into a tackle. My ankle went and it was up like a balloon.
It happened before but it's not as bad as last seasons injury. There
has been a big improvement over the last few days. Things look quite
promising and hopefully I'll manage to get maybe half a dozen games under
my belt before the season ends. The physio talks about being out for six
to eight weeks with this sort of injury but I'd like to think Ill be
The Clyde game has been rearranged for Tuesday March 22nd although kick-off time has still to be confirmed.
February 15th- More from
Peaso in today's Courier with the
striker confirming it wasn't that hard a decision to stay at Saints. "Im
happy its all sorted. My agent said there were a few clubs
interested but I never got involved in that because no matter who they
were, I dont think they would have offered a three-year deal. "
John Connolly is set to try and get Steven Anderson and David Cowan tied to longer deals with the latter getting some well-deserved praise for his performance at right-back. "Were pleased with David so far, hes done well. Its maybe something well have to react to in the next month."
February 14th -
John Connolly didn't seem too unhappy
with Saturday's result. In today's Courier, the Saints manager said, "The
game had an edge because its my old club and there are a couple of
players here who have played for them. It was our first competitive match
in about three weeks and the lads worked their socks off. It might not
have been a great game to watch but it was a solid performance. We had a
lot of chances and a mixture of finishing that should have been better and
a bit of luck kept us from scoring. In the last three or four minutes we
put 17-year-old Andy Jackson on and we
think he has a future. We would like to be in a position soon when we can
give him and a few other youngsters a chance. "
Meanwhile yesterday's papers had us linked with 24-yr old Brechin striker Graeme Gibson.
8pm - Confirmation tonight that Peaso(right) has signed a new 3-yr contract. After putting pen to paper this afternoon, he told the Official Saints Site, "The club have shown great faith in me and Im delighted to sign. There is not much security in football these days and to have been offered three years on top of whats left of this season is very pleasing indeed. Realistically we are all playing with a view to next season now and I cannot wait to make a fresh start. In my time at the club I have only ever done one full pre-season so Im wanting to get a good start to 2005/2006 under my belt and get among the goals more regularly.". John Connolly said, "Peter is a vital player for us and I honestly believe we have not seen the best of him. If he can get a good pre-season training stint done then I see him as being a player who can get 20 goals a season and there are not many of them around. The club have shown a great commitment to the player in offering a three-year contract and to be fair to Peaso he has shown faith in the club by signing up for that length of time. There were other clubs making tentative enquiries and I hope this move today sends out a message about our ambitions. The rest of this season is about him gaining further match sharpness and then making a fresh start in July."
February 12th - It looks like
Saints are definitely fired up anyway at least going by the comments of
David Hannah in the Courier today. The
Saints skipper said of the QoS game, "The manager will be wanting
to get one over his old team and the motivation will certainly be there
for us to go and get the three points tomorrow. They certainly enjoyed it
after their win back in August and these are things you dont forget
in a hurry. The boys are looking forward to the match. Were aiming
to finish second in the table. Obviously its a tight league but were
thinking positively, and games like the one tomorrow are ones we should be
winning. The new guys have all fitted in well.
Stephen Dobbie had been looking really
sharp in training but it looks like well not have him available for
a few weeks after he got injured in training, which is a pity.
Robert Sloan has been building up his
fitness and he and David Cowan have
looked good as well "
Chris Hay is a doubt for the game so Andy Jackson is in the squad. And Saints confirmed that Stephen Dobbie's injury will be reassessed on Monday once the swelling has gone down but 4-6 weeks out looks the likely scenario.
6.45pm - Another dire performance as Saints drew 0-0 with QoS in a bad-tempered game. The only consolation was that every other game in the league ended all-square so we didn't slip back any further.
February 11th - Confirmation
today that Stephen Dobbie is out until
the end of next month with his ankle injury.
John Connolly said, "Until
the swelling goes down it is difficult to be sure how long Stephen will be
missing for but normally with this type of injury you are looking at 4-6
weeks.". As for Brian Cash, the
manager told the Courier, "The lad received an offer of a
two-and-a-half year contract from a club in southern Ireland and has gone
to have a look at the set-up there. We hadnt seen enough of him to
decide what we wanted to do but we've told him that if the Irish thing
doesnt happen then well keep tabs on him."
Meanwhile both Martyn Fotheringham and Ryan Stevenson are struggling for tomorrows game with calf and knee injuries respectively - not that either is likely to get a game these days.
5pm - Speaking in the PA today, John Connolly has admitted that tomorrow's game has a bit of an edge to it. "There will be an edge to the next two games between the clubs, but I'm sure that once we get this season out of the way it will all die down. I think most managers look to their former club to see if players are available and I'm no different. Obviously I was delighted to sign-up David Bagan and the way things have panned out this will be his first game for us since he made the move. We all want to keep our better players, but there shouldnt be any animosity created by the situation because pre-contract agreements are available to every club. If Iain Scott wants to call me and ask about players going out of contract here in the summer he is welcome to do it. Those are the rules. David Bagan is still finding his feet here but he will play against Queen of the South if I decide this is the right time to hand him his debut. When a player signs a pre-contract agreement it's probably best to move him on right away and thats what's happened here. Hes certainly in the squad for this game. The fact it's Queen of the South were playing doesn't enter the equation."
The manager is also looking to get clear of the chasing pack as well. "Last season I think the third bottom team had 34 points. Weve already got 35 points but this is the toughest division in Scotland. This is a big game for both clubs and I want to hit the floor running. We want the result which will lift us further up the table."
As for the Bagester(right) he's admitted that some of the QoS supporters' comments after his move have stung. "Judas was one of the kinder names being bandied about. I got slaughtered. Fair enough the fans were upset but some of it was over the top and a pack of lies. I knew what I was risking by signing a contract to come here but it was full-time football and I know the manager. Iain Scott wasn't happy and he was within his rights to bomb me out for the rest of the season. That was a risk I was prepared to take. I'm not the first and I won't be the last to sign a deal like it. But it was best for everyone concerned that I moved on quickly. I've had stick from opposition fans before but it was new getting it from my own supporters. I think I'll hear all about it this weekend from the Dumfries fans if I'm playing!"
February 10th - After a couple
of quiet days, it looks like the deal for Brian
Cash could be dead with the winger in Ireland for talks with a club
there who have offered him a contract. John
Connolly has intimated though that should the player return he might
get an offer.
And it's been confirmed that Stephen Dobbie will be out for several weeks with a twisted ankle.
8th - Saints have a few injuries but none that should cause any
problems for this weekend's visit of QoS. Chris
Hay has a dead leg and Kevin
Fotheringham a groin strain whilst Peter
MacDonald is apparently suffering from an achilles injury which
caused him to miss last Saturday's friendly. None of the players trained
yesterday but all are expected in for today's double session.
5.30pm - So much for the good luck then with a bad ankle injury in training today meaning that Stephen Dobbie(right) will definitely miss out this weekend. John Connolly said on the Official Saints Site, "Stephen went over his ankle this morning in training and it was a sore one. Hes going to have the injury assessed this afternoon and Hibs have been informed. Its a real blow for us and for the player himself because he is only due to be with us a relatively short time and any lengthy injury would keep his impact here to a minimum."
February 7th - John Connolly has spoken about the low-key nature of Saturday's friendly. In today's Courier, he said, "It was a friendly played like a friendly. Thats the only way you can describe it. No matter what you say in the dressing room before hand its hard to get players up for it. The frustration is that we werent involved in the Scottish Cup. We got to the semi-final of the Bells Cup but didnt do well in the other two cups and thats something well have to put right next season. I get jealous when I see other clubs in the cup at this stage and I said that to the boys before the match. ". There's no word yet as to whether Brian Cash is going to be offered a deal.
February 5th -
John Connolly spoke to the Courier
today about the aims of this afternoon's friendly. He said, "This
game will be about getting some of our players fitness levels up.
Stephen Dobbie and
Robert Sloan came from SPL clubs (Hibs
and Hearts respectively) and didnt play much in the last two months
when their reserve league was off. They need games. They had a
closed-doors match against Livingston last week and a reserve game against
Raith Rovers, and now this friendly. So hopefully their fitness will be
improved for next weekends match with Queen of the South. The shape
of our team will be the same but, because its a friendly, we might
look at guys in other positions.". No word on the fitness of
Chris Hay but expect a large side to be
given a run out.
Away from Saints and just to prove you can't teach an old dog new tricks, Judas is apparently being spoken about as the favourite to return to Tannadump. Wonder how long he'll last this time?
6pm - One decent finish and a basic error from Kevin Rutkiewicz gave Well a 2-0 win in today's friendly. However there were some bright points with some decent performance notably from Brian Cash played as a trialist on the right wing.
February 4th - Latest news is that only Paul Bernard is definitely out of tomorrow's game. Chris Hay is getting treatment though and is expected to make it. Other injury victims Steven Anderson and Kieran McAnespie both came through the reserve game with no ill-effects. Tomorrow's friendly is a 2pm kick-off with only the West Stand open. Season tickets are valid, otherwise it's £10/£5 admission.
3rd - John Connolly is
praising the new boys and returnees from injury in today's Courier.
Speaking of Tuesday's win and this weekend's friendly he said, "All
the new boys performed well in the reserve game.
Stephen Dobbie and
Robert Sloan were particularly
impressive and it was also good to see Steven
Anderson back in action for the first time since his injury ".
While the Buckfast Boyz are set to bring a mainly fringe squad to the game
at the weekend, Saints are set to field a strong line-up and the manager
said, "The players I have brought in will certainly feature on
Saturday and it is a good opportunity for them to get another game under
their belts. Obviously I am not sure what kind of team Motherwell will put
out but I would imagine quite a few first team regulars will feature."...we'll
5pm - Latest ahead of Saturday's game is that Saints expect to field a "large" squad including trialist Brian Cash. One doubt though is Chris Hay(right) who is suffering from a dead leg picked up in Tuesday's reserve game.
2nd - Saints chalked up a 3-0 win over Raith reserves last night -
goals came from Chris Hay (who picked up a
knock in the process), Ross Forsyth
and Steven Anderson.
Robert Sloan and
Stephen Dobbie all played in a strong
line-up and they were accompanied on the right wing by a mystery Irish
trialist who by all accounts had a decent enough game.
Meanwhile, it's good news for Kevin Cuthbert(right) with the Saints keeper finally given the all-clear to start playing - expect to see him between the sticks on Saturday as Craig Samson heads off on U-21 business.
4pm - The trialist has been identified as 23-yr old Brian Cash who started at Forest but has been looking for a club since December. He's set to be kept on at McDiarmid for another fortnight or so to allow Saints to have a closer look at him. And David Bagan has been talking about his debut last night saying, "I enjoyed myself. McDiarmid is a nice, big park and that suits my style. When I heard Saints wanted to sign me, I was dying to get up here. Now Im looking forward to our home league game against QOS a week on Saturday."
February 1st - John Connolly has made the traditional welcoming speech for new signing David Bagan and possibly signalled a thaw in the relations with QoS. Speaking in the Courier, the manager said, "Were delighted that the situation has changed and Queen of the South have allowed David to come here straight away. Well look at playing him in tomorrows reserve match."..actually that's tonight against Raith and expect a strong Saints side to be fielded.
Top Of News
January 31st - After Clyde's
inability to put down covers meant another quiet weekend for Saints,
John Connolly is expecting to put out
a strong reserve side tomorrow, as well as another closed doors game this
week. The Dobster will be given 2 games
to improve his match fitness.
Meanwhile it's been revealed that Saints tried to sign ex-striker Billy Dodds on loan until the end of the season but the deal fell through.
4pm- Despite being linked with Livi's Stuart Lovell it looks like the only piece of transfer business will be the signing of David Bagan after QoS agreed to release him early. The player is at McDiarmid now and the club hopes to get the deal through before tonight's deadline.
29th - There's some good news ahead of today's trip to Broadwood
with Peaso(right) apparently set to
sign the 3-yr contract on offer. Speaking to the Courier, he said, "Its
a great club and I love it here. The fact that theyve offered me a
three-year deal shows how much they rate me and hopefully I can repay them
by doing well when I get things sorted. There are a few things to be tied
up and it will just take a wee bit of time I think. It wont be that
long. The quicker things move, the happier Ill be, because I just
want to concentrate on my football.". And today sees the Saints
striker renew a TFOD youth partnership with Stephen
Dobbie and Peaso said, "I
was sorry to see Stef McConalogue
go to Partick Thistle. Ive known him since I was 13 and have played
with him a lot over the years. But things didnt work out for him
here, for whatever reason. Now Stephen Dobbies come in and hes
a very good player. Hes got a lot of good attributes in and round
the penalty box. Hes a year younger than me but we played together
in the reserves and scored a few goals together when we were at Rangers. I
think were looking to build for next season, but for the time being
weve got to aim for second place. Weve dropped points recently
and if were going to get second we need to start with three points
tomorrow. Nothing less will do."
John Connolly isn't giving too much away in terms of the starting line-up. Robbie Sloan might play after training yesterday but Keyring's groin strain will keep him out. Flash could be asked to deputise in left midfield. As for any moves before Monday's deadline, the manager said, "I wouldnt say yes or no. Youll probably see a flurry of action across the country on Monday and things could yet happen."
2.30pm - So much for today then with a frost-covered Broadwood falling victim to another postponement following a 12.30 pitch inspection. No word on the rearranged date. Elsewhere Airdrie v Accies has also succumbed to the weather.
28th - After a nice wee break it's good to see Saints have finally
been busy this week. With the transfer window set to close after this
weekend, there's been no shortage of moves.
John Connolly has mounted a raid on
his previous employers. Eric Paton and Steve Bowey have both elected to
remain at Palmerston, but David Bagan(right)
has signed a pre-contract agreement and the midfielder will move to
McDiarmid in the summer on a one-year contract, although a proposed swap
deal for Ross Forsyth fell through,
despite the Saints defender training wih the Dumfries side on Monday
night. John Connolly revealed that it was both Queen of the South and
Dumbarton that wanted Forsyth but neither club could afford him. As it
stands, John Connolly wants
Flash to stay and "fight for
his place at the club". David
Bagan(right) meanwhile has been in the press today pleading with QoS
manager Iain Scott to let him leave early to prevent him having to
possibly line up against his future employers in a few weeks. Of his new
signing, John Connolly told the
Official Saints Site, "Im
delighted to have secured Davids services for next season. I took
both David and Alex Burke to Dumfries from Kilmarnock and they did good
jobs for me. Alex has since gone onto do a good job at Ross County and I
feel David can do the same for us. Hes the type of player I want in
the team a good footballer, a good passer of the ball and plenty
movement. Hes not big in stature but he gets mucked in and has the
capability of getting half a dozen goals a season as well."
Also coming in on loan until the summer is Hibs striker Stephen Dobbie despite Saints trying to get the player on a permanent basis. It does mean some departures though and first out of the door was Stef McConalogue who impressed Uncle Fester Campbell so much last weekend he's headed through to sign for Partick. Another who could be heading west is Ryan Stevenson with the out-of-favour midfielder rumoured to be set for a move to the Paisley Junkies.
One summer target not coming to Perth though is Stranraer striker David Graham who eventually signed this week for Gretna for £50,000.
Of the current squad several contracts are being negotiated. Peaso is talking over a 3-yr deal whilst Saints confirmed that Steven Anderson has been offered a 12-month extension to his current contract.
Meanwhile Saints have fixed up a friendly against Motherwell for next Saturday afternoon (Feb 5th) - both clubs having a free afternoon thanks to being rubbish in the Scottish Cup. The game takes place at McDiarmid with a 2pm kick-off and season tickets are valid for the game.
Of course before then we have Clyde to take on at Broadwood and there are a few injuries to worry about. Steven Anderson is definitely out and both Robbie Sloan and Kieran McAnespie haven't trained this week and are doubtful with a bug and groin strain respectively. Michael Moore is also being given a late fitness test due to a calf strain. Stephen Dobbie(right) is in line to make his debut. John Connolly said of the game on the Official Saints Site, "Itll be a difficult game against a side that have proved they are a force to be reckoned with. However, weve done well against them this season we enjoyed a good result in Perth and although we lost down at Broadwood I thought we acquitted ourselves very well. Concentration will have to be 100% tomorrow because if they get a goal in front they will be very difficult to break down but Im confident we can get a goal a give them a few problems." - and just for novelty value we get to sit opposite the main stand tomorrow.
January 24th - Latest transfer
rumour is that the apparently completely out-of-favour
Mark Baxter could be set for a move to
St Midden or Clyde this week, the latter having already tried to sign the
right-back last summer.
Back to Saturday's game though and the recalled Stef McConalogue is hoping to get a run in the first team. He told the Courier today, "The last game I played was when we lost to Falkirk in the Bells Cup. Im not exactly sure what the score wasthats how long ago it was. The manager told me on Friday that I was going to start and I told him I would give it my all, which is what I did. Ill take each day as it comes and if I get put in again next week then Ill do my best again. I dont really know whats going to happen. Obviously I just want to play, so if Im not going to get a game I may as well be somewhere else. But weve got a good bunch of guys at the club and I like it here. I thought I did OK in the game and well see what happens next week. I think Peaso and myself do well together. Were good mates off the park and we know each others games inside out. Its a partnership thats maybe not had a chance and it would be nice if we got a run now. "
The manager spoke of his team changes saying, "Things needed to be freshened up. I felt we lost our shape in the last 20 minutes. At one stage I thought we were shading the match, but at the end we were walking off happy with a point. We had lost our last three games and at least we took something and kept Thistle nine points behind. "
Finally this will be the last update to the Temple until Friday night - I'm off to England to escape the latest OF rumours.
January 23rd - Going by John Connolly's comments on Scotsport it looks like the Stephen Dobbie deal might not yet be dead. Elsewhere and reports in the Sunday Mail have Ross Forsyth set to join Dumbarton or QoS (the latter in a swap deal for David Bagan).
22nd - Fozzy(right) has
been speaking to the Courier ahead of today's game and believes the
defence need to get back to basics. He said, "Jim
Weir has been getting us together a couple of afternoons a week to
work on the back four. Maybe we thought that because we had six clean
sheets there were a few things that we didnt need to do. But weve
gone back to working on things that we were doing before and hopefully well
be more solid because of that. Allan McGregor, Jordan
Tait and Steven Anderson were
playing during the good run and the guys did great to get the six
shut-outs. That was a phenomenal achievement and they never looked like
losing a goal. I dont know who will be playing tomorrow but we have
to make it our priority as a unit not to concede goals and get back to
having clean sheets again.". The defender admits he's still not
fully fit either, "Last Saturday was only my second game back and
Im still feeling a bit rusty. I was out for three months and only
played one reserve game before going into the first team. Im
getting sharper, but it will probably be another couple of games before Im
at full match fitness ."
Meanwhile it's been revealed that Ross Forsyth was set to go on loan to Forfar before the Bridie-Boyz pulled out of the deal since he's over 21. What that means to his longer-term future at the club remains to be seen but from my point of view he's arguably the best left-back we currently have at the club.
Anyway, looking ahead to today's game and David Cowan is expected to start at right-back with Robbie Sloan also in the squad. Craig Samson will be in goal.
7.15pm - It was another stinker as we drew 1-1 with Partick, thanks to a Peaso goal. The striker also revealed today that he's been offered a 3-year contract. Going by his and some of the other performances this afternoon that's far, far too generous as Saints showed no signs of learning any of their lessons from last weekend.
January 21st - Little happening
but the dreaded flu bug is still sweeping McDiarmid and with
Kevin Cuthbert out of action tomorrow,
John Connolly is praying that
Craig Samson stays fit. The manager did
admin in the Retard though that, "Hopefully nothing will happen
to Craig because he will be making his first start for the club. It's
short notice but it would be nice to find an experienced keeper to provide
emergency cover. "
2.30pm - Saints have announced that Lee Hardy has been released from his contract and has left the club. The left winger has slipped down the pecking order with the arrival of Robbie Sloan and looks set to join Accies until the end of the season. Whilst it's understandable that he's been allowed to leave, he's a player that never let the club down in his brief time here and for that the Temple would like to wish him all the best.
Meanwhile skipper David Hannah has targeted a 2nd place finish this year but knows Partick will be tough opponents tomorrow. "They will certainly be a different proposition from the team we beat 4-0 at Firhill last month. Dick Campbell and Jimmy Bone will have them motivated after losing a late goal to Hearts in the Cup replay this week. But Im not even thinking about the relegation issue. Im looking to finish second to Falkirk. If we can get a victory over Partick and follow it up with a win over Clyde next week, then well be well on our way. Theres no reason why we cant get back at Clyde and clinch second place. The manager will be trying to move out one or two because weve a big squad now. But it is good for the dressing room to have a bit of a shake-up at this stage of the season.". Both of the new signings are in the squad for tomorrow and the manager also revealed that Kevin Cuthbert has been ruled out for 10 days.
20th - Saints have confirmed that they're in talks with Hibs
striker and ex-TFOD youth player (better mention it since it seems to be
de rigeur to constantly bring up this reference when talking about the
player), Stephen Dobbie(right). Any
move for Scott Patterson is a non-starter though, with the manager
admitting, "Scott has gone back to Dundee United because he has
some issues to sort out. He trained well, but, at this moment, I dont
know if well be pursuing the matter."...rumours suggest
Shit McCall believes the defender might not be surplus to requirements at
Tannadump after all.
Of yesterday's new signings, John Connolly said in the Courier, "As soon as they walked through the door here you could see they wanted to sign for the club. The chairman has made a statement with these signings that were bringing in players with a view to next season and with the potential to play in the SPL. Its exciting for the supporters that were looking to take the club on, and we dont want to be in a situation again where were looking for 10 players in the summer. "
David Cowan said of his move, "Everything was going to plan at Motherwell until I broke my leg against Celtic. It happened in a tackle with Paul Lambert and my leg was pointing in the wrong direction, so I knew straight away how serious it was! While Ive been out for a year players have come in and taken their chance, which there was nothing I could do about. Terry Butcher gave me the opportunity to come here and if I do well and the manager is happy with me then there is no reason why I wont stay. Ive been playing for the reserves or sitting on the bench this season so Im desperate to start playing in the first team again .". And it's a similar story for Robbie Sloan who said, "I got into the first team and played about 15 games but then I fell out of the picture. I thought I might get a chance under the new manager John Robertson, but that didnt really happen. Im dying to get a fresh start and to play again, and hopefully I can play this weekend."
Meanwhile there's no news yet on departures but the manager admitted, "I think its obvious that some people here who are not getting games will have to move on."...so start placing the bets on the names for the exit door now.
2.30pm - There won't be a deal for Stephen Dobbie. Saints were apparently under the impression the player would be signing a permanent deal but Hibs only want to loan him out for fitness until the end of the season so it's a non-started.
19th - First it was illness and yesterday it was the snow that
stopped Robbie Sloan from making the
trip to McDiarmid for signing talks for Saints. Emphasising that the deal
hasn't been completed, John Connolly
said in the Courier, "Any dealings with anybody have had to be
put off because the weather has just made life impossible. We had hoped to
speak to him today and until we do so we wont know where we stand.".
Along with Sloan, Saints are also hopeful that the David Cowan will finally be sealed today. And Saints have been linked with out-of-favour Arabs defender Scott Patterson with the 32-yr old getting training facilities at McDiarmid.
Last night's reserve game with Montrose was called off yesterday morning due to a frozen Links Park pitch.
2.30pm - Robert Sloan(right) put pen to paper on an 18-month deal today. And moves are still on for David Cowan
7.30pm - David Cowan became the second signing of the day with a deal until the end of the season, although a long-term option is available. John Connolly said on the Official Saints Site, "It's good to get both players on board. Robbie Sloan is a player I have been after for some time and I tried to get him on-loan when Craig Levein was at Hearts. I recall him from his time on loan at Alloa when I was in charge at Queen of the South and he's the sort of player who I think will excite fans. He has pace and likes to take players on and although essentially left sided can do a good job in other positions as well.". And about the other acquisition he went on, "This has come about as the result of a chance conversation with Terry Butcher. We've had the player train with us and we've seen him in match action and I am confident he will do well for Saints."
18th - Latest reports are that Saints are hopeful that
David Cowan will complete his move
tomorrow. The player was due to finalise his deal today but has succumbed
to the puking bug doing the rounds at the club with
Kevin Rutkiewicz another victim.
Meanwhile the double training sessions have resumed and John Connolly said on the Official Saints Site, "We had been doing double sessions in the early part of the week for some times and they were definitely contributing to the improved form we saw towards the end of the calendar year but the festive period followed by the Scottish Cup game on the Sunday kind of upset that routine so it was good to get back to normal today. Well have another good session tomorrow although the players who are due to take part in the reserve match at Montrose will obviously not take part.". The good news is that Kevin Cuthbert(right) was able to take part in training but it will be later in the week before a decision is made on his fitness - although the manager has already ruled him out of the Partick game - he told the Courier, "It was great to see Kevin here as his condition was a concern. He will now rest and wont be involved this weekend against Partick."
08.30am - Radio Forth is reporting that Hearts midfielder Robert Sloan is set to sign for Saints today. The 21-yr old left winger has played 15 first-team games for Hearts and had a spell on loan to Alloa. He's expected to sign an 18-month deal with Saints today.
January 17th - Craig Samson has spoken of his dramatic debut on Saturday. In today's Courier he said, "Its certainly not a nice way to make your first appearance for a new club. You wouldnt wish the incident on anybody, and ideally I would have got in on merit. At first I didnt think Kevin had been hurt, I just thought he was disappointed at losing the goal. But he was out cold. When I came on at 2-0 there was still a chance for us, but that was gone after the penalty went in. My contract with Kilmarnock is up in the summer, so hopefully I can get games here and take it from there. Im involved with the under-21 squad and if I play well with Saints, hopefully that will still be the case. The boys went on a great run after losing to Falkirk the last time and thats what well be looking to do again."
15th - It's been confirmed that we've made a bid for right-back /
midfielder David Cowan at Motherwell,
with a decision expected on Monday. Meanwhile,
Keyring is looking forward to today's
game against his previous employers and told the Courier, "I cant
wait for this match. We need a good performance to get us on another run
and what better way to start than by beating the league leaders. I havent
spoken to many of the Falkirk guys yet because theyve been in
Portugal since Sunday and they only got back yesterday, but Im sure
the text messages will start coming before the match. This will be a test
for them as well as for us, because theyre away from home after
losing on their travels last week. Thats a couple of defeats for
them now, and we dont know what their confidence will be like. The
best time to get them in a match is the first 10 minutes because they dont
start well, and hopefully they will be tired after their trip to Portugal
as Ive heard they were worked really hard out there.".
No word yet on whether Keyring(right) will start after the manager's tactics saw him left out last Sunday. John Connolly said, "I watched Inverness before Sundays cup-tie and I decided to change things a bit by bringing in Kevin Rutkiewicz for a holding midfield role, but this is a home game and well look at it in a totally different way. If we beat them it would be three losses out of the last four and, who knows, cracks might start to show. This is a big test for them. Its also a test to see how far weve come over the last six or seven weeks, and thats what Ive said to the lads this week. Weve had three games against Falkirk and weve run them close in two out of the three. Now we have to take it that extra yard. If wed played against County as we did against Caley wed have got a result, so I think we can put that defeat down as a blip. We were on a great run before that, and weve still got the belief that we gained from that. Hopefully well get a good support behind us tomorrow, because the fans were great against Inverness. "
7pm - Saints collapsed to a 3-0 defeat to Falkirk in a game we were never really in. And to add to the doom and gloom, Kevin Cuthbert was stretchered off in the second-half with what looked like a bad back injury. The only consolation tonight is we didn't slip further down the league.
10.30pm- The Official Saints Site reports that Kevin Cuthbert has been released from hospital tonight suffering from mild concussion and bruised ribs. The keeper was out cold for 2 minutes this afternoon after the injury but thankfully it's not too serious. Turning to the game, John Connolly has stated the obvious saying, "We were beaten by the better side but we didnt compete, we didnt close down at any point and if you dont do that against a side of Falkirks quality you will be punished. All three goals were avoidable. I daresay people will rave about Latapys goal but the defending was diabolical. I thought we looked more like the thing in the final ten minutes of the first half but we lost an early goal after the break and that was that. We are a good, hard working side but we are missing flair weve known that for a long time and Im trying to do something about that but flair players are not plentiful and not cheap. We need to lick the wounds and prepare for another important game next week against Partick Thistle."
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
14th - Lee Hardy is back from
Blackpool with no word of the move being made permanent - thanks to red
tape he didn't even play in a match for the English club. Latest reports
in the Courier suggest that the trialist midweek being checked out further
is an Englishman at a Scottish club - latest is that he's believed to be
David Cowan(right) of Motherwell. But
it's not going as smoothly as the manager would like and
John Connolly told the paper "The
two foreign boys did okay but the language barrier was always going to be
a problem and they have left us. Well still keep an eye on the other
boy who played, but Im not sure how that one will develop. Moves are
afoot but the clock is ticking on. Most clubs are in the same situation
though, and what will probably happen is well sign three players on
January 31!". As for the Manager of the Month Award, he went on,
"This is recognition for everybody at McDiarmid Park, its
been a team effort from top to bottom. My name is on the award but all the
coaches and the players are recognised by this award as well. Our first
match after December was at Ross County and we lost that one 4-0, so the
curse is gone."
Speaking of tomorrow's encounter with the league leaders, John Connolly told the Official Saints Site, "We've run them close on three occasions we have played them so far but ultimately failed to beat them. I've talked in the past about 'mini-targets' for the players and they have achieved each one I have set them. If you like, the next one is to beat Falkirk who are a team clearly on a different level from the rest of us so far. However, a win for us tomorrow added to their defeats to Partick in the league and Clyde in the cup might just set them on edge and make for an interesting next few weeks."
One man looking to make amends tomorrow is Kevin Rutkiewicz following his red card at Westfield. Still adamant he was innocent, the defender told the PA, "I pulled out of it and even the Falkirk player admitted it. It was viewed as stamping, but I checked myself after an initial reaction. Hugh Dallas is a referee I respect, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with the decision. I felt guilty leaving the lads down to 10 men and it was a hard ask to hold on. I know I let myself and them down. It cost me my place in the team so it would be nice to keep my jersey this weekend and remind the fans I'm still around! It was annoying to be sent off in those circumstances but I have had to be positive in my reaction." As for tomorrow, he said, "The awards are a sign of our improvement and now we're hoping to show we're a better bet than when we lost to Falkirk before.". And he paid tribute to Ravey Davey Hannah saying, "His engine and tackling have been very influential. He has made a huge difference and I'd say he's been instrumental in our improvement."
Finally, Kevin Cuthbert is set to hold onto the number one jersey tomorrow.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
January 13th - It's
congratulations to John Connolly who
got the SFL Division One Manager of the Month award for December. And to
make it a double for Saints, Allan
McGregor got the Player Of the Month award to boot.
Meanwhile yesterday's bounce game saw Saints lose 2-1 to the Arabs although the Czech trialist striker got our goal. And Saints have confirmed that Lee Hardy is having a trial with Blackpool this week. For the incoming players, the Retard has confirmed we're trying to sign Hibs striker Stephen Dobbie on loan.7.30pm - Latest news is that neither trialist from yesterday will be taken any further and both have been sent packing. However, John Connolly did reveal that the mystery full-back who played will be examined further - no idea who he is (or why we need another full-back), other than he's currently at Motherwell. Meanwhile Michael Moore is back in full training after his dead leg against Caley and is set to play this weekend for the visit of the Weans.
12th - Today's bounce game will see Saints field 3 trialists - a
French defender, Czech striker and an unnamed Scottish player.
John Connolly said of the transfer
moves to the Courier, "Were talking to two or three clubs
just now and hopefully we can get something worked out. It seems that as
soon as we show an interest in a player just now, something happens at his
club to put him back in the picture there. Well also have three
trialists playing in a closed-doors game against Dundee United tomorrowa
French defender, a Czech striker and a boy from another club in Scotland.".
Jordan Tait and
Stephen McConalogue are set to
Meanwhile Stephen Fraser(right) has returned from his loan spell at Arbroath but Saints haven't ruled out a further loan for the rest of the season.
Photo copyright PPA (www.ppapix.co.uk). Used with permission.
January 11th - No signing yet
with talks set to go on today. Colin Samuel has been joined by
Hibs' Stephen Dobbie as the other name in the frame although given
the wages both are on expect any deal to be a loan one.
John Connolly said last night, "Talks
are on-going and it looks like it will be tomorrow before we know if we
have got our man. It would be nice to freshen up the squad, as well as
looking to get some players going the other way."
Meanwhile the two East European trialists have arrived - one from France and one from the Czech Republic.
6pm - The mystery striker was revealed today as TFOD's reserve striker Tom Brighton but talks have broken down with the youngster electing to remain at the Death Star rather than come on loan to Saints. John Connolly told the official site, "Its disappointing but we just need to look elsewhere. Ill continue to search for players that I feel could bring something to the squad but its not easy every manager in the land is trying to make moves just now."
There's a closed doors game against the Arabs tomorrow but Colin Samuel won't be coming to Saints with the manager categorically denying that rumour.
January 10th -
John Connolly praised the Saints
players despite their cup exit yesterday. Speaking to the Courier, he
said, "I thought the effort and commitment from my players was
brilliant. Im obviously disappointed to go out of the cup but if I
get that every week well win a lot of games. We could have defended
the goal better but I cant fault my players. Caley are a premier
league team but I didnt see a big difference between the sides."
5.30pm - The transfer situation looks like hotting up - a mystery player was in signing talks this morning and two foreign trialists have arrived at the club with a view to being checked out in a bounce game this week. There's also likely to be some moves away though in order to free up the wage bill. The mystery player is reported in the Tele tonight to be an SPL forward with Colin Samuel one name in the fame. As for departures the rumour mill has Martyn Fotheringham off to Partick, Ryan Stevenson off to St Midden and Lee Hardy off to Blackpool after apparently having a bust-up with the manager yesterday when he was told he wasn't on the bench.
9th - Today's cup-tie has been given the go-ahead after a 9am pitch
inspection. Paul Sheerin(right) said
in the Sunday Mail, "Saints are well capable of having a good run
to the quarter or even the semi-finals of the Cup. It will be tough
getting past Caley but normally there is a First Division team playing in
the last four. We've got a good enough squad to compete with Inverness
although they're obviously a good side. If we get over this hurdle and the
draw is kind you just never know. Ayr defied the odds to reach the semis.
It was a poor result last time in Dingwall so we'll want to put that
right. I don't know if the favourites tag will affect Caley too much.
Craig Brewster will have them fully focused. Over the years Caley have
always been underdogs with nothing to lose. But it's our turn now and
there is no pressure on us."
Elsewhere and Keyring confessed to the Sunday Times that he considered becoming a Chef!!!. Speaking of his move back north after not making it at Fulham he said, "A lot of people think footballs just a game, but its not, its our life. You go through stages where youre not involved and you get sick of it. I really thought about giving the game up and considered another career. Im reluctant to tell you what because Ill get slagged, but I wanted to become a chef. Ive no background in that, I just like cooking. Its not a bad job if you get the right qualifications, but that was the thing, the prospect of starting again, I couldnt face that. The cookery course is on hold for now. Ive an awful habit of hearing but not listening to managers. Its a team game, thats what Ive learned, and theres no I in team. I always want to try and make killer passes instead of simple ones. Ive been told that for years and finally Im doing whats asked of me. I had a good opportunity at Fulham, another at Hearts, if I dont take this one I dont know what will happen. It was a lonely time for me at Fulham. I had just lost all enjoyment in football. I was going to training thinking, Why am I here? Saturday was always the worst day. Even now, back here, I still come in on a Saturday wondering if Im going to play or not, still fearing the worst, taking nothing for granted. Ive lost all my aspirations with the kicks Ive taken along the way. I just get on with it now. Nothing bothers me. Life is too short. Ive seen the other side and realised how unimportant football is."
5pm - Saints ended up going out the cup losing 1-0 to Caley Thistle. Oh well maybe next year.
January 7th -Another weekend so it's another goalkeeping dilemma. According to the Courier, John Connolly hasn't decided who will start between the sticks at Dingwall on Sunday. The manager said, "At this early stage I have not decided about the goalkeeping situation for Sunday. It is always dangerous to make a decision too soonin fact last week we thought we had a team in mind and then Stevie Anderson had to pull out with a shoulder injury. The players will train again tomorrow and on Saturday and then we will stay overnight in Dingwall ahead of Sundays game. We will watch how the lads get on in training before thinking about who starts." - and just to emphasise it, the lads had another double training session yesterday.
January 6th - With another
subtle twist, John Connolly, in
today's Courier said of Jamie McCunnie, "Jamie is a very
good player and I like him a lot. If he became available I would certainly
be interested but there has been no approach from us."
Meanwhile Saints apparently played a bounce game against the Pars yesterday and reports suggest that Hibs striker Tam McManus played for Saints.
7pm - The good news from yesterday is that Fozzy played in the bounce game. John Connolly said, "Kevins feeling a bit stiff today, but, that apart, has come through all right."
Paul Bernard limped off with a calf knock though and Ross Forsyth also picked up a knock although he should be fit for the cup-tie. And speaking of the trip north which yours truly is missing out on, in the event of bad weather it'll be rescheduled for next Tuesday night. And if the first game is level then the replay will be at McDiarmid at 7.45 on Jan 19th.
Back to the game yesterday though and a mystery Spanish trialist played but won't be pursued. And the manager has denied any interest in Tam McManus or Steven Milne, the latter the ex-Scumdee striker who is the latest victim of homesickness in Plymouth. So time for some more rumours then?
5th - Saints have started preparing for a return to Dingwall for
the cup-tie this weekend. John
Connolly(right) told the Courier, "It was disappointing to
lose so heavily after going on such a promising run. We had gone six games
without conceding so to lose four in one match is pretty painful. If you
look at Everton they had been going really well and were very tight and
then suddenly lost five goalsit seems to be the nature of things. We
just have to look ahead now and it will be nice to get a break from the
league this weekend. Although it will be a very hard match it is a good
cup tie for usthey will be favourites and we have nothing to lose.
Caley have proved themselves in the premier league and have done
particularly well in the last couple of months. They have also just got a
new manager which could make things that bit harder."
Meanwhile Steven Anderson is set to be missing for 2-3 weeks with his shoulder knock.
7pm - Meanwhile Saints have denied any interest in Jamie McCunnie of Ross County - the ex-Arab was the main rumoured signing this week. And ex-Blackburn Rovers trialist Andy Reid is plying his trade trying to win a deal at Ayr after leaving Blackburn by mutual consent.
January 4th - At least
John Connolly was honest enough after
yesterday's game when he said, "We were well beaten today. We
know it was not good enough and I dont think we competed."
Meanwhile it looks like the first signing of the transfer window will be made before the week is out. And Saints are trying to set up a bounce game this week to look at a couple of trialists.
January 3rd - Saints are set to
have Keyring and
Michael Moore back today for the trip to
Dingwall after both missed out on the Hamilton win. However one doubt is
over Steven Anderson who has a
shoulder injury. Still no decision on who gets the number one jersey
though. Jordan Tait said of the game in
the Courier, "Allan McGregor
did a great job for us and it is sad to see him leave but I know we have
two good goalkeepers at the club. Kevin
has nothing to prove to anyone having performed so well for the team in
the past, while Craig has looked good
in training since joining us from Kilmarnock. One thing the gaffer has
been stressing is that we need to defend as a team and press the
opposition all over the park. So it is not just left to the keeper or the
back four to keep the opposition out. We must all muck in and try to keep
this run going and see how far we can take it. It is really nice to look
at the league table and see us sitting in third place and we have to keep
winning games and improving. Obviously, Falkirk have a big lead at the top
but we can do no more than make sure we keep picking up results. Playing
Ross County is never easy, particularly up there, but we are determined
not to slip up."
John Connolly still hasn't made up his mind over the keeper situation. All he would say was, "The matter is still under consideration but, the way I look at it, it is a nice problem to have two quality goalkeepers available to me. We have put together a great run and have to keep the momentum going. Winning breeds confidence, though, and we are going up there to bring home the three points."
9pm - Oh dear - total pish time as Saints went down 4-0 at Dingwall. A bad day which I've decided just didn't occur.
2nd - Ian Maxwell(right)
reckons Saints are just starting to get into their stride now. Speaking
ahead of the trip to Dingwall tomorrow, the defender told the Sunday Mail,
"Because of contracts ending we lost a lot of players just after
the new manager came in. He had to bring in 13 new players and it took us
time to gel as a side. But we've found a balance now with the same 11
starting each week and the results have followed."
No word on any team news from the club yet.
January 1st - Not too much in the way of news ahead of Monday's trip to Dingwall so I'll just say Happy New Year to everyone.
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