This weekend sees Saints return to Scottish Premiership action in a Tayside derby against Dundee at Dens Park. It’s the third time that the club has had to face Dundee away from home this campaign and Tommy Wright will be hoping his side can produce a similar result to the 4-0 victory Saints enjoyed at Dens in March.
Tempers flared after that result and it looks as though opposing manager Neil McCann will find himself in the stands on Saturday as a result of the post-match incident which also saw Saints’ Zander Clark pick up a two match ban.
Tommy Wright was a little bit disappointed when the fixtures were released and he realised his side would have to make a third trip to their Tayside rivals, but insists that it’s not worth complaining about the way the post-split fixtures are scheduled.
“I was quite surprised when the fixtures were announced as we didn’t expect to have to go to Dundee again,” Tommy said, “so that was a little bit disappointing. I suppose there are pros and cons for us with regards to our final fixtures.
“While another trip to Dens isn’t ideal, the final game of the season will be home and it’s against Ross County which means we won’t have to make the long journey up there again this season.
“A lot gets said about the way the split fixtures are arranged but there’s no point in moaning about it. All the clubs know the drill at the beginning of the season and I think these things have a way of evening out over the course of a few seasons anyway.”
It’s been an injury-hit campaign for Saints and Tommy was given further bad news last week with the announcement that both Chris Kane and Denny Johnstone would not play again this season. Although he’s disappointed to lose two strikers to injury for the run-in, Tommy will look to give some of his young forwards an opportunity in the final games.
“It seems like our bad luck with injuries is never ending and both Denny and Chris have been ruled out for the remainder of the season. That means that there will definitely be opportunities for our young strikers. Young Shaun Struthers is currently out injured but Jamie Docherty and John Robertson might get some game time in the next few weeks which will be good experience for them.
“I’ve been looking back at our injuries this season and we’ve had 17 long-term injuries this campaign that has led to a minimum of a 5 to 6 week lay-off for our players. Of those, 14 have been trauma injuries that have come during matches.
“We’re sometimes accused of being overly physical when in actual fact, the evidence suggests we’re actually on the wrong end and suffer the most when it comes to our players being injured by opponents during games!”
The Saints boss has already started to look ahead to next season and has confirmed that the club will be losing long-serving striker Steven MacLean when his contract expires next month.
The 35-year-old has penned a two-year-deal with Hearts and will end his six season association with Saints at the end of the current campaign.
“Hearts contacted us last week to let us know they were speaking to Steven and the expectation was that he’d sign for them on a pre-contract.
“It’s a shame to see him go but we wish him all the best because he’s been a fantastic servant to this football club since he joined in 2012.
“I don’t think Steven owes the club or I anything. He’s been an asset to the squad both on and off the pitch and has been a great example for our younger players. I’m probably the manager he’s played under the longest in his career and he’s always done fantastic for me.
“I can see the attraction for Steven and Hearts is a big club. At this stage in his career, it’s a move he felt he couldn’t turn down and as I said I don’t feel like he owes us anything and we wish him well for his new challenge.”
Kick-off at Dens Park is 3PM on Saturday 20th April. Ticket details can be found here.
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