Dec 6 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Tuesday
STEVE LOMAS isn’t surprised Perth fans are beginning to think wistfully of a rare European invitation.
With the weekend win away to Hearts followed by three home games, starting with third placed Motherwell, the recently recruited manager is well aware the feel good factor is building in the Fair City.
But the Northern Irishman admits the one-game-at-a-time cliche is coming into play in the countdown to the busy Festive season.
He may just be 37 but Lomas is long enough in the tooth to know football can deliver painful blows when least expected.
Lomas said: “We have a big week coming up with tough games, for different reasons, against Motherwell, Aberdeen and Celtic. We have to be careful we don’t get ahead of ourselves.
“But I have told the lads that if they continue to play like they did against Hearts and go to places like Tynecastle, show no fear and continue to take games to the opposition, who knows how far they can go this season?
“They thoroughly deserve all the plaudits they are getting.
“It is all there for us this season after such a fantastic start but there’s no way anyone can rest on their laurels. The lads are professional enough to know that.
“I am well aware expectations are being raised and that is to be expected. But myself and Tommy Wright have to bring a calming influence to bear with a big week looming, starting with a tough game against ‘Well.”
If Saints can secure three points from the clash with the Fir Parkers, they will be just one point off third spot in the SPL and on course for an unprecedented Christmas high.
Since coming on board Lomas admitted he had been impressed with the work ethic in the Perth squad.
“That is probably the most pleasing thing for us. The lads work so hard for each other.
“Look at the very best teams like Barcelona, Man United and Milan and they all combine workrate off the ball with quality on it. You have to marry the two.”
Yesterday Lomas was awaiting news on Frazer Wright’s thigh scan after he limped out of the Tynecastle game early on.
And striker Fran Sandaza missed the weekend players’ Christmas night out to continue treatment to his abductor injury.
Lomas said: “I thought Frazer had a dead leg at first but now we have to wait and see the extent of the damage to his thigh. It is a concern but hopefully it will be good news. Jody Morris is continuing treatment but with hamstrings you have to be cautious.
“David McCracken came in and did very well, as did Marcus Haber and Carl Finnigan. The attitude of all the lads having to bide their time has been excellent. We will need the strength in depth we have here.
“Marcus has seized his chance in the last two games. He now has the shirt and he could be hard to shift. But like everyone else he can’t afford to take the foot off the pedal.”
Lomas again lavished praise on keeper Peter Enckelman who repeated his Celtic Park heroics with a spot-kick save in Edinburgh. Even having to linger for a drug test didn’t detract from his Saturday night.
Lomas said: “Pete could play for another five years at the top level. He is a calming influence and I like that in my keepers.
“He is an ice man. Nothing gets to him and he has been brilliant for us.”