Match preview: Saints U20s v Partick Thistle

Friday 2nd December

Saints' U20s side play Partick Thistle this Sunday at McDiarmid Park in the Scottish Youth Cup 4th round.

The side go into the match on the back of a 2-0 loss in the Development League to Hamilton Accies last Monday, prompting U20s manager Alec Cleland to demand more consistency from his squad of players.

"The perfomances been up and down all season and I suppose that's to be expected from a new group. We've played well at times, we've been mediocre, we've been really poor, so we've really not had that level of consistency this year. But we're hoping on Sunday it clicks into gear for us and we can produce a big performance."

In the previous round Saints progessed against Forfar Athletic, but only after coming through a nerve-wracking goalless draw and penalty shoot out at Station Park.

"In the last round we didn't play well and let our standards drop. We were lucky to get through and the boys know they have got to produce a better performance in the next round to get through the tie because we're up against better opposition."

Cleland's side have faced Partick already this season in the Development League with the game ending 3-2 to Saints at Firhill, and the former Everton right-back believes it will be another close encounter between the teams this weekend.

"I'm expecting a really hard game. They're doing really well in the u20s league and from playing them before down at Firhill it was a really tough game.

"You see how well they're doing with their youngsters at the moment, they're flying high with their youths. So, like I said, it will be a tough game and one we're going to have to be at our best if we're going to win it."

Saints knocked Celtic out of the competition at the same stage last year, before going out in the quarter-finals to eventual winners Motherwell, and the U20s boss would love to see his side make that next step this year.

"It's a big comeptition for us, definitely. Going back three or four years, we've done well in the cup and want to continue that tradition. It's the only cup we play for at u20s and if you're in the final it's on Sky, so it's great publicity for the club, and would be a great stage for the players to showcase their talents. It's a competition we obviously want to do well in and go as far as we can."

The 4th Round SFA Youth Cup tie between Saints and Partick Thistle will take place this coming Sunday (4th December) at McDiarmid Park with a kick off 1pm.

Season tickets are valid and cash entry is £5 for adults and £2 concessions.