Perthshire Advertiser : 2021-02-23

YOUR VIEWS : 39 : 39


39 www.perthshire­ 23.02.2021 TEAMS FROM FIR PARK Manager Callum Davidson sent a strong starting line-up onto the field of play ahead of the League Cup final - and got it spot on. Motherwell: Kelly, Johnston, Magloire, Lamie, Carroll (McGinley 61), Polworth, Crawford, Maguire (Roberts 61), Long (Hastie 61), Cole, Watt. Not used: Morrison, Devine, MacIver, Cornelius. Clark, Rooney, Kerr, Gordon, McCart, Booth, Craig, McCann (Gilmour 90), Wotherspoo­n (Bryson 62), Melamed (Middleton 77), Kane (May 77). Not used: Parish, Brown, Tanser, O’Halloran, Conway. St Johnstone: BOOKINGS A quiet afternoon on the card front. Only Motherwell’s Christophe­r Long saw yellow. ATTENDANCE No fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic but Motherwell did pipe in fake crowd noise throughout the 90 minutes. KEY MOMENT Adding the second goal on the stroke of half-time was undoubtedl­y a key moment. There was a hint of fortune in terms of Shaun Rooney being offside in the build-up. But captain Jason Kerr played to the whistle and made absolutely no mistake with a low strike that fizzed into the net. FOR THE RECORD Premiershi­p Table Pts 82 64 52 48 40 35 34 33 28 26 24 24 P 30 30 29 30 29 29 30 30 29 29 30 29 W 26 19 15 13 11 9 8 8 7 7 7 6 D 4 7 7 9 7 8 10 9 7 5 3 6 L 0 4 7 8 11 12 12 13 15 17 20 17 David Wotherspoo­n made his 255th appearance in the Scottish Premiershi­p for the Perth club. That moved the midfielder one ahead of former central defender Steven Anderson. Only Murray Davidson and Liam Craig have made more top-flight appearance­s. Rangers Celtic Hibernian Aberdeen Livingston St Mirren Dundee United ST JOHNSTONE Motherwell Ross County Kilmarnock Hamilton STAR MAN go there and give them a performanc­e they can be proud of and hopefully win the trophy for them. “They have been a huge part of my time at the club. We’ll be doing everything we can to put on a performanc­e. “Once restrictio­ns are lifted it will be great to get them back in. “What they are seeing now is a young team that has the potential to have success over the next few years.” The buzz for Sunday’s final against Livingston will undoubtedl­y grow as the week progresses. Saints have pulled out all the stops to make the day a special one with virtual tickets, one-off replica shirts and at-home hospitalit­y packages part of the offering. Craig concluded: “What the club has done in regards to the cup final has been excellent and the fans are really buying into it - like they’ve always done.” While fans remain unable to attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Craig hopes performanc­es like Saturday help to lift spirits. And another this Sunday is obviously the plan. “It sets us up now for a great week at training,” Craig said of the Fir Park show. “We’ve got three huge games left in the league but the cup final this week is definitely a nice distractio­n. “I just hope the fans are proud watching the team just now. We’re doing everything we can to make it enjoyable for them. “It’s great we can give them another cup final, especially this year when it’s been really difficult with supporters not being at the games. Like Saturday, we’ll “Having Ali [McCann] and Dee [David Wotherspoo­n] in there next to you, Craig Bryson towards the end and Muzz [Murray Davidson] when he plays, makes my job easier. “Everyone was brilliant and it starts from Guy [Melamed] and Kano [Chris Kane] at the top of the park in the way they press, hold it up and link the game. Guy gets the two goals. His first is incredible. “The pleasing thing is that it’s more squad rotation and boys have come in and done well. You look at the bench and how strong the squad is.” Craig had actually gone close to adding a fourth but his side-footed attempt from distance struck the top of the crossbar. Kerr. The foot remained firmly on the gas early in the second half and Melamed stroked in a penalty on 50 minutes for number three. Whether he starts in next week’s final is up for debate. And another who did his chances of a start at the national stadium no harm was midfielder Liam Craig. What a terrific and composed display he produced in the centre of the park. “I know when I’m in the team it’s to sit in front of the back three at times and protect, like it was on Saturday,” Craig said. “It’s great having the three behind you dominant centre-halves who head it, win tackles and are good on the ball as well. Liam Craig was back in from the start and oozed class and experience. FINAL WHISTLE John Beaton had a pretty good game in the middle of the park. Positioned well to make Saints penalty call. FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND SEE: