Today St Mirren were paired with Ayr United in the Scottish Communities League Cup, a tie that will be played at St Mirren Park later this month. St Mirren manager, Danny Lennon is already looking forward to locking horns with the Honest Men again.
He said, “That is every season since I have been manager at St Mirren that we have drawn Ayr United in a major cup competition, and we presently sit at one win each.
“The important thing is that we have a home draw so we are looking forward to it. They have a new manager in Mark Roberts who I’m led to believe has a new philosophy in football so I think it has all the makings of a really good game.
“The exit from last season’s League Cup at the hands of Ayr still haunts the minds of some of our players and mine too from time to time but we now have an opportunity to try and put that behind us and hopefully start a good cup run.”
Before we got around to talking about matters relating to St Mirren’s visit to Dens Park this Saturday, Danny wanted to give special mention to summer signings Sam Parkin, Lewis Guy and Jon Robertson who all made their debuts for the club last weekend.
Danny said, “I thought our three debut players last week all played an important part in the game against Inverness. Lewis Guy gave us a mixture of everything with a wonderful goal and his sending off, he showed fantastic movement up top and will be sorely missed at Dundee on Saturday.
“Big Sam Parkin was a constant threat aerially and he put in quite a work rate as he pressed the game from the front with Lewis and really turned average balls into good balls for us.
“Jon Robertson came on with fifteen minutes left and went on to have a really big impact on the game with his crosses, one of which lead to the equalising goal.
“They all look like really good additions to our squad which in my time at the club is the shortest in terms of numbers but it is certainly the best quality squad in my time here.”
As Saints prepare to meets SPL newcomers Dundee, the Saints gaffer has the good news of four returning players but also has to report a fresh injury and another suspension.
Danny said, “Lewis Guy will be suspended for Saturday’s game after his red card against Inverness last week but we have Jim Goodwin, Steven Thompson and Marc McAusland all back and available for selection after being suspended last week. Graham Carey has also been back training with the squad this week so he now looks to be back from injury.
“Grant Adam picked up what looks to be a bad injury in the Under-20 game on Tuesday night. He is set to see a specialist so until that is done we won’t know the full extent of his injury. But what we do know is that he won’t be fit for the game at Dundee on Saturday so we will probably look to [goalkeepers coach] Paul Mathers to take his place for the visit to Dens Park.”
The injury to Grant Adam aside, Danny has been happy with the way his preparations for Saturday’s game have gone this week.
He said, “Overall things have gone really well this week as we have been preparing for the visit to Dundee. As I said we got the three boys back from suspension and Graham Carey back from injury and we have had a fantastic working week as we continued to work on the things we did well last Saturday as well as working on the things we didn’t do so well.
“We are very much looking forward to going to Dundee as I’m sure there will be a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium with it being their first home game of the season. Dundee also showed last week against Kilmarnock that they are there to be accounted for and that they look comfortable in the SPL. [Dundee manager] Barry Smith has done a terrific job as he took Dundee to second place in the First Division last season which ultimately earned them a place in the SPL for this season.
“I expect a terrific atmosphere but that could have one of two affects on Dundee; it could give them a real boost and surge their confidence or it may make them a bit nervy but whatever happens we know we will be in for a very difficult game. More importantly, for me, it is about us taking our strengths and qualities and using them to try and pick up the points.”
Danny knows a tough game is ahead for his side at Dens Park but while Dundee will still be a bit of an unknown quantity he believes if his side do the right things that will be the difference in the game.
He said, “Any new side that is promoted is a bit of an unknown entity especially early in the season, we faced the same problem last year when we played Dunfermline in the opening game of the season. But at the end of the day you must always respect your opposition while at the same time try to find out as much as you can about their strengths and weaknesses and try to exploit them.
“For me, it is still all about what we do on the day and I would rather concentrate on our strengths and what we are aiming to achieve this season which is to try and pick up points in every game and to try and finish higher up the league table than we did last season.”