Sep 15 2009 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Tuesday
OUTWITH the Old Firm, Saints have bagged more goals than any other side in the SPL.
But St Johnstone manager Derek McInnes knows the goals and points tallies should be even more emphatic.
McInnes admitted the weekend result against St Mirren was tinged with disappointment, given the superiority of the Perth Saints on their first visit to the Paisley stadium.
But he stressed his players had every reason to believe they were up to the challenge posed by the SPL.
“We have to take heart from an away performance of such quality,” he declared yesterday.
“We have dominated games for large spells but we shouldn’t get too disheartened.
“If we keep playing in the same manner it will be enough to win games for us.
“We have to keep believing.
“My players are determined not to let anyone down this season. I can sense the hunger and desire in the ranks.
“They are working so hard for each other and denied St Mirren opportunities.
“There were a lot of good performances, especially across the back four. The penalty which was given was an injustice but nothing can change that.
“I was impressed with our response, with Jody Morris replying immediately and we controlled the second-half. Our goals are being spread about and I know I have players here who will score.
“We are disappointed with a three-point return so far. We haven’t got what our play has deserved. But in terms of spirit and determination I don’t see any better in this league.”
McInnes believes Irish defender Graham Gartland is now showing the quality which hallmarked his time as skipper of Drogheda.
“Graham is getting better and better and he and Stuart McCaffrey were excellent at the back.”
McInnes revealed that Paul Sheerin’s first start of the SPL campaign was down to his attitude in training and performance at Forfar. That should prove a spur for other players having to bide their time.
The veteran wasn’t at his best but McInnes said: “No one holds Paul in higher regard than me. I thought it would be a game which would suit him.
“He had earned the right to start and I will utilise my squad this season.”
Collin Samuel hurt his knee at Paisley but like Kenny Deuchar and Jody Morris, who also suffered knocks, he will be ready to face Hibs this weekend.
Kevin Rutkiewicz should train with the squad later in the week and Peter MacDonald is progressing.
Graeme Smith is another who should be training within the week but Kevin Moon and Andy Jackson are still sidelined.
SAINTS kids thrashed Edinburgh City 10-0 in the SFA Youth Cup on Sunday, with Stevie May bagging a hat-trick.