Dec 28 2012 Perthshire Advertiser
Steve Lomas is eager to sign-off 2012 and usher in a New Year with back-to-back wins home wins which would ease St Johnstone back into the chase for second place.
But the St Johnstone boss admits their McDiarmid Park form has to translate into more victories between now and the end of the season.
Yet again his players made and scorned chances in the 1-1 Tayside derby clash with Dundee United on Boxing Day.
Post-match, he wagered no other side in the SPL has been guilty of such a low conversion ratio and yesterday midfielder Liam Craig, who is linked with a move to Hibs, wasn’t for debating the issue.
But Lomas maintains that unwavering self-belief will translate into the goals required to edge back into the top six.
The manager, who has prompted the club to open talks on contract extensions with several key personnel, said: “We have to turn around our home form and start putting together a few wins to help ease the pressure on us going away and having to get something every week.
“As I’ve said before, I would be more worried if we weren’t creating chances. We believe it will turn for us if we keep persevering.
“If we stick with it and keep believing I am sure someone is going to take a real pasting from us.”
Lomas and his players praised the healthy 1000-plus fans who flocked to Tannadice and stuck by them despite gifting a second minute goal to the Arabs.
“The mood wasn’t great after the Aberdeen game but we got the response we wanted against United, albeit not in the first few minutes when we lost a goal,” added the Saints boss.
“The problem we had early on was giving away too many free-kicks because United have players who can thrive on them. We let them put pressure on us. The lads are so competitive as a group they want to win every ball but sometimes you can’t do it.”
Assessing the visit of an Inverness Caley Thistle side which is a contender for team of the year in Scotland, Lomas said: “Inverness have been flying.
“Big Terry Butcher and his boys have been an absolute joy. They have been fantastic and he has them playing some great football.
“Being equal second in the league probably is a bit of a surprise but all credit to them. They deserve to be where they are at this stage.
“We scraped a last-minute draw up there in a tough game. I’m sure our lads will appreciate they can’t rest on their laurels.”
Craig admits Saints again have to spread the goal throughout their team rather than rely on an individual to emulate Caley striker Billy McKay, who is nudging towards the 20-goal mark already.
The midfielder was twice denied by United keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak at Tannadice but Craig echoed his manager’s observations, stating: “The positive thing is the amount of chances we are creating.
“Take away Aberdeen and we’ve been creating a lot of chances in games and it is up to us to start taking them.
“We were delighted to give a good account of ourselves at Tannadice, especially after losing the early goal. The fans were excellent. They supported us the whole way and didn’t get on our backs.
“It was good to give them something to go home with. But we were a bit disappointed to take all three points.
“Inverness are on an incredible run just now. We had a tough game up there earlier in the season when we scored a last minute equaliser.
“But we have to make McDiarmid Park a hard place for teams to come, as we’ve done in the past. We are definitely going into the game wanting all three points.
“Terry Butcher has always had a good side and he’s made them hard to beat.
“With Billy McKay scoring 17 or 18 goals already they are going to be up there given how tight the league is. We’ve got to spread the goals throughout the team.
“If you go on a wee run of four, five or six games you are going to be up near the top.
We did that but after a couple of draws and a defeat you are starting again mid table to bottom again.
“So it is important we back to winning ways sooner rather than later.
“We are looking to do that against Inverness before going into the derby game with Dundee at New Year.”