MATCH PREVIEW | St Johnstone vs Celtic

Friday, 3rd November

Saints are keeping their heads held high as they attempt to overcome a recent dip in form this Saturday lunchtime against league leaders Celtic.

Saints are eager to turn their fortunes around after going five league matches without a win. However, Tommy and his players are under no illusions that Saints will be underdogs against the defending Premiership champions who are currently 62 games unbeaten in domestic competition.

Despite results as of late, Tommy insists that morale within the squad is still high:

“The morale is very good. We’re all aware that we’re not on a particularly good run at the minute but we’ve been here before – probably every season we’ve been at the club” said Wright.

“The nature of the league means that most clubs, maybe outside the top two or three clubs, find themselves in little runs like we’ve had the minute but the positive is that we’re still sixth in the table.

“We’re not in the last two places of the league and having the run we’re in but we do know that we need to get better and we’ve got to make sure that we get a positive result on Saturday heading into the international break and before Hibs.”

Tommy’s team selection will be limited, however, by a host of injuries currently plaguing the Saints squad:

“We’ve had a good week’s training. We’ve had a few injuries. Brian Easton will definitely be out. Chris Millar will definitely be out. Murray Davidson will be extremely doubtful. Stefan [Scougall] and Michael [O’Halloran] probably have an outside chance so we’re potentially looking at five players who’ve done really well for us being out of the side.

“So from that point of view it’s not been ideal but it in terms of working with the rest of the players the preparation has been really good and we’re looking forward to a tough game.”

Midfielder, Paul Paton has echoed his manager’s comments by emphasising that the Saints players still remain confident of getting back to winning ways soon:

“We’re as optimistic as ever”said Paton.

“We just want to win games. That’s never really changed since I came to the club. It doesn’t really matter if we go through a dip, the boys stay the same. We never get too high or too low so I think that’s important.”

Earlier in the week, Paton received a call-up to the Northern Ireland squad for their crucial 2018 World Cup qualifying playoff with Switzerland. However, he is adamant that the Celtic game remains the most important challenge at present:

“I’ve got to stay professional and can’t really look past Saturday.My full focus is on Saturday and my club side so that’s all I’m thinking about just now.

“Obviously it’s an honour but I’ll deal with that when the time comes as long as I come through Saturday injury free.

“I don’t think it would be fair on the boys, the fans or anyone else if my eye was on next week. It’s just got to be Saturday and it always is so it’ll just stay that way.”

Saints are arguably the side that has come closest to ending the Hoops’ unbeaten streak so far this season. In their first meeting in August, only a late Callum McGregor equaliser snatched victory away from Saints at Celtic Park. Tommy and his players will no doubt look to take inspiration from this strong performance come 12.30pm on Saturday.

MATCH PREVIEW BY GARY PETERSEN

ADMISSION INFORMATION

The match is all-ticket and only home area tickets remain available and only to the following categories of Saints support:

1) Season ticket holders requiring additional tickets

2) Holders of Voucher No1 issues to cash payers at recent home matches

3) Those on club database. Anyone in these categories can purchase ticket up to 5pm today (Friday).