Tough task ahead as we venture forth to Paisley to take on one of the form teams of the Championship in the shape of title contenders St Mirren on Saturday with a 3:00pm kick off slot.
Last time out we ended the game against Livingston with ten men and surrendered a half time lead to end the day with just one point. That's the third game in a row where we have been reduced in numbers and half a dozen for the season, something which should be of some concern for John Robertson. This time it was Iain Vigurs who has the knack of rubbing the referee's up the wrong way and seems to be a target for some who like to get some retribution. In saying that, maybe Iain should wind his neck in a tad and make himself less visible to these situations. Just saying! Anyway, the sending off and subsequent injuries altered the pattern of the game and Livi managed to gain a point whilst we squandered two. Aaron Doran placed a wonderful low shot beyond the reach of the keeper to open the scoring early, but we were undone late in the game as Livi scored from a set-piece to level.
St Mirren also surrendered a lead in their derby as Morton came back to earn a point after Celtic bound Lewis Morgan gave the Buddies the lead in the first half. Thomas O'Ware headed Morton level late on to secure a well earned point for the Ton. That reduced their lead at the top of the table to three points with Dundee United skelping Brechin 4-1.
The table does not lie. St Mirren are top with 42 points and we sit seventh on 24 points. Goals scored shows the same trend with St Mirren on 38 and Inverness on 22. We have actually conceded one goal less than the Buddies, thanks to our clean sheet run but if it were not for Brechin (11 goals), there would be a massive difference in goals scored. As it is, we are getting close to 50% of St Mirren's stats.
We have to take it one step at a time after our poor start to the season, but it was an opportunity missed last time out to put ourselves in a position where it would have been possible to climb the table. As it is, it will take another couple of weeks to see if we have what it takes to move up, or drift into mid-table obscurity, only time will tell.
Nathan Austin made his debut in the home game against Livingston and looks to have plenty of what we have been missing. The ability to get past defenders, able to head the ball, pace and a directness not seen at the club since Barry Wilson last played here.
Iain Vigurs misses out through suspension. Joe Chalmers came off injured against Livi and Collin Seedorf missed that one through injury. It's beginning to unravel a bit with suspensions and injury but Carl Tremarco will be back after his one match ban. David Raven played his final home game and despite his public swipe at the club, could play against St Mirren if required. Rumour has it that Alex Cooper could be let go, the former County player being surplus to requirements along with Matt Elsdon and Big Susan.
Jack Ross has done a fantastic job at Paisley. Avoiding relegation last season after being cut well adrift at one point, and continuing the upward surge of the club this term, looking like Premiership contenders since the start of the season. Lewis Morgan has had his medical at Parkhead but appears to be on loan back to St Mirren for the remainder of the season. Similar to the Ryan Christie scenario a couple of years ago. Daniel Mullen has slotted in since joining from Livingston and is another goal threat to contend with. Gavin Reilly is strengthening after recovering from illness and is a huge goal threat.
tm4tj prediction:- This is a tough game at a tough venue. We were scalped earlier in the season down there despite Robbo claiming there was little between the sides. St Mirren also won 2-0 in the Highlands and we will do well to contain them with their added fire power of Daniel Mullen complimenting Lewis Morgan and Gavin Reilly should he start. Our defence has generally coped fairly well since we settled down and got to know each other. A draw might be our best option, but I'm no holding my breath.