MATCH PREVIEW | Albion Rovers vs Saints

Friday 19th January

Weather-permitting and subject to a Saturday morning pitch inspection, Saints return to action for the first time in 2018 when they visit the Cliftonhille Stadium in Coatbridge to take on Albion Rovers in the 4th round of The William Hill Scottish Cup.

An up and down end to 2017 has resulted in Saints sitting 7th in the Premiership standings and a good cup run could be just the boost Tommy Wright and his side are seeking to help kick-start the second half the league season.

Saturday’s opponents, nicknamed The Wee Rovers, are having a similar campaign to last year thus far. Brian Kerr’s team lie 8th in League One at present – the exact position in which they finished in 2016/17.

With the fourth round of the cup being where all of the Premiership teams enter the fray, all lower league opposition will be motivated to cause a cup upset following the top flight’s winter break.

Tommy Wright is clear how important it is that Saints are in the right mind-set ahead of the game:

“In a cup tie, when you play a team from the lower leagues, it’s never easy and you have to approach it in the right way. I’m expecting a tough game.” said Tommy.

“They’ve scored a lot of goals this season, they’re a very attack-minded side but they’ll be disappointed with the number they’ve conceded.

“It’s a small ground and the pitch will be difficult so sometimes that can level things out. We’ve just got to make sure that we’ve got the right attitude and are in the right frame of mind to go there and expect a tough game. If you go there expecting a tough game then I think you’re focused and should do well.”

Tommy provided the latest injury news and status of the squad as a whole:

“Richard Foster is suspended so he’ll miss out. Paul Paton is making good progress with his ankle injury.

Brian Easton is a bit of a concern, we’ll probably need to send him for a scan. He’s got a bit of a problem in the pelvic area which flared up at the start of the season. We thought we’d got rid of it but it has come back again. Those two along with Calum Hendry are the only real injuries we’ve got.”

With various comings and goings with players over the break, Wright gave an update on the new signings and those returning from loan:

“Well for Jason [Kerr] and Chris [Kane] it’s quite easy because they know all of the players and have been here quite a long time.

“David [McMillan] has come in and fitted really well. He’s trained well and he’s looking forward to getting started.”

McMillan himself has talked about how he’s eager to get going this Saturday in a Saints shirt:

“It’s a tough first tie.” said the 29 year old.

“Everybody will expect us to win the game but we’ve got to go out there and do a professional job and make sure that we get through to the next round. For me, it’s exciting to be involved and my first game a cup tie so I’m really looking forward to it.”

MATCH PREVIEW BY GARY PETERSEN