The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Saints star relishing prospect of qualifiers

Anderson ready for first round after last year’s disappoint­ment

- andy newport

Steven Anderson is determined not to lose out on Europe.

Twelve months ago, the St Johnstone defender missed out on the scalp of fancied Swiss side Luzern.

So this time round close season ankle surgery won’t prevent him staking a claim for next week’s Europa League qualifier.

Anderson and his colleagues will have an eye on today’s lunchtime draw being made at Uefa headquarte­rs in Switzerlan­d.

And after bucking the odds to join manager Tommy Wright’s squad preparing for the Euro action at a training camp in Northern Ireland, he’s relishing the prospect of July 2 and 9 first round qualifiers.

Anderson stressed: “It was a just a clean-up operation on my ankle

“I’ve had it a couple of times before so it’s okay.

“I played through it for a while last season. It’s just extra bone growth so it’s a straightfo­rward operation.

“I was in and out on the same day then got crutches to go on holiday. I managed to go away without them because the next day it was fine, although I had a bit of a limp.

“That was three weeks ago and I came back into some running last week.

“But this week I’ll pick it up a bit and start doing ball work while we’re here in Ireland. To be honest, the ball work part is a bonus for me because I don’t kick the ball anyway – as long as I can run and jump I’m fine!

“But as far as the European games go, I’ll be ready for them.

“I missed the game in Switzerlan­d last season because my missus was pregnant and was due at the same time.

“I had a slight hamstring tear as well so I stayed behind. You don’t like missing big games like that but there was nothing I could do.

“So hopefully I’ll get into the team for the start of the season this time round and be given a chance to play.

“We are seeded so hopefully the draw will be good to us. All you’re looking for really is a winnable tie and it to be somewhere the fans find it decent to get to.

“We had the game in Belarus a couple of years ago where the fans couldn’t travel and that was a big disappoint­ment because we know how much they’ve enjoyed the trips in the past.

“As players it doesn’t bother you where it is, really, because you’re in and out to do a job.

“But these trips are great for the fans so we’d really like somewhere they can travel to in numbers.”

 ?? Picture: SNS
Group. ?? Steven Anderson doesn’t want to face European disappoint­ment for a second successive year and is confident he is ready to go after a clean-up operation on his ankle.
Picture: SNS Group. Steven Anderson doesn’t want to face European disappoint­ment for a second successive year and is confident he is ready to go after a clean-up operation on his ankle.

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