Hibs v Saints Preview

Last updated : 16 January 2009 By Stuart Gillespie
After a dismal November, everyone seems to be in a good mood after December's four wins, the draw against Motherwell and the midweek cup defeat of Brechin City. We've flown up the table and a win tomorrow could pop us into the top six - at Hibs' expense. The fans seem to be baying for blood there for some unknown reason. OK, so they've suffered a bad few weeks recently, but they aren't going to be relegated and will probably make the top six. For a fan of a club outside the Old Firm, what more can you ask for? Admittedly, being knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Hearts hasn't helped manager Mixu Paatelainen's case, but that doesn't excuse the keenness of some Hibs fans to see the back of him.

When we met Hibs at Love Street in November, the goalless draw was the start of our terrible form. We scored just two goals all month and managed one point, with many fans wanting Gus MacPherson - who had won October's manager of the month award - to be sacked. While things have turned around since then, there must be a good chance tomorrow could mark the beginning of a similar run. After all, Gus is the current manager of the month!

It would be a surprise to see major changes to the Saints team that dealt with Brechin on Tuesday night. While Billy Mehmet and Craig Dargo are back from suspension, the goals from Jim Hamilton and Dennis Wyness against the second division side mean it'll probably be the same again up front. There aren't many alternatives to the current back four so it will remain unchanged, meaning any alterations will be in midfield. Steven Thomson made his debut in the cup win and is likely to keep his place, even if it is at the expense of the excellent Garry Brady. One possible change is Steven Robb starting on the left wing to provide some extra pace and width. On the injury front, Will Haining and Stephen O'Donnell are out while Tonet isn't fit enough.

Last season, some horrendous errors from Rob Jones and Yves Ma-Kalambay gifted us a couple of wins against Hibs. Sadly, that's unlikely tomorrow. Jones has been superb for the Edinburgh side throughout this season, while Ma-Kalambay is injured. Usually, this wouldn't be a problem as Hibs have a variety of useless keepers, but sadly big Mixu has solved that by bring in Grzegorz Szamotulski. He was excellent at Dundee United last season and will be a good addition to their squad.

At the other end, Hibs have plenty to pose us problems. The speedy Derek Riordan is usually difficult to handle, while the likes of Dean Shiels and Colin Nish usually cause defenders problems. On the plus side, Steven Fletcher - apparently wanted by Real Madrid - is suspended, as is former Saint David van Zanten.

Paatelainen desperately needs a win to ease the pressure and we have a habit of helping managers out in these situations. However, tomorrow is when we end that and leap into the top six by taking all three points.