Saints v Motherwell Preview

Last updated : 02 January 2009 By Stuart Gillespie
The house full signs will be up tomorrow as the final match at the old girl was declared a sell out earlier this week. Thousands of Saints fans, many of whom probably haven't been near the place for years, are making one last pilgrimage to Love Street to cheer the team on.

We rarely play well in front of a full, expectant crowd. We screwed up against St. Johnstone in the cup last season and we messed things up big time against Dunfermline in 2007. However, this is a different type of pressure. It's not league status or a trip to Hampden that is at stake. It is simply sending Love Street off with one last victory. If we fail it will be a major disappointment - but it shouldn't impact on our hopes for the rest of the season. It's also an extra incentive for the players. Both teams will be out for three points, but Motherwell only want to spoil the party - our players want to spark a massive celebration.

Whatever the result, there will be special events after the game including pipe music, legendary players appearing and fireworks. The club have stressed that fans must stay off the pitch and not take anything with them as we could be back here in ten days for a cup replay against Brechin.

Anyway, all that's to come. For now, let's just concentrate on the football. Unfortunately, we now have the jinx of the "Manager of the Month" award again after Gus MacPherson deservedly received it earlier this week. The last time that happened we managed one point and two goals from the next five games. We've also just won four in a row and we haven't managed five successive wins in the top flight since the 1920s. Things are mounting up against us, and it would be typical if we screwed up in this game.

Our recent run of form has been achieved with the same team starting each of the last four games. There's a good chance that could happen again tomorrow, with the only possible change being the introduction of Craig Dargo to the starting lineup. The striker looked lively against Hamilton last week, scoring the winner late on, and could be chosen to partner Dennis Wyness or Jim Hamilton up front. New signing Steven Thomson may make the bench, while Will Haining, Stephen O'Donnell and Tonet are all still absent. Steven Robb is fit again but will be a sub at best.

Motherwell ended a long run without a win by beating Caley Thistle last week and will be looking to build on that success tomorrow. Craig Porter has been in good form as he attracts interest from clubs down south and will pose all sorts of problems to our defence. Two of our former players could face us and it would be typical if one of them got Love Street's final goal. Steven McGarry is a born and bred Buddie and there probably wouldn't be too much anger if it was him that got it, while John Sutton probably doesn't care about us anymore. Both have scored against us in the past 18 months so there must be a good chance of it happening again.

It's the final game at Love Street. Can we go out in style? Absolutely.