St Mirren manager Oran Kearney has interestingly hinted at a potentially weaker St Mirren taking to the field tonight against Celtic at the Simple Digital Arena.
The Buddies boss is in the midst of a big relegation battle this season. Last weekend’s 2-1 win at home to Dundee was a massive boost for Kearney’s side after they overtook the Dee in 11th place. Despite that, however, they’re in for a tough time of it tonight against Neil Lennon’s confident Celts.
But for our opponents tonight, they have an arguably even bigger match this Saturday at Hamilton Accies. As it stands, Hamilton sit just four points clear of St Mirren, and a win there could bring the gap back to one.
And, interestingly, Kearney has stated that he’ll have one eye on that match when naming his Saints side tonight. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, Kearney said the following regarding tonight:
“It’s a massive week for us, and while we can’t look past Wednesday, there’s what is possibly an even bigger game at the end of the week. There’s so much at stake for both teams.
“Because of that, I think you pick the team for Wednesday with an eye on the weekend game.
“You ask the players to be single-minded and only worry about the next game and the next training session. But as a manager you have to look at it in blocks, rather than individual games. Saturday will be four games in 11 days, so it’s important to share the load throughout the team.”
All just pre-match mind games
St Mirren are in a desperate three-way scrap at the bottom. Therefore, you can hardly blame Kearney for trying every trick imaginable to try and get something tonight. That certainly won’t stop at pre-match mind games.
We all know that the Buddies will line up with as strong a side as they can muster tonight. If they don’t, it could lead to an embarrassing and confidence-draining night for them.
But, Kearney only needs to look back at St Mirren’s draw with us back in mid-September to believe that his side can get something from the game. That was one of Celtic’s worst performances of the campaign, with Olivier Ntcham being sent off mid-way through the first half.
Of course, it shouldn’t matter what St Mirren team lines up tonight. Celtic should be firing themselves to victory with a convincing result and performance. But it’s important we don’t become complacent by taking Kearney’s words seriously.
St Mirren will line-up with all they can tonight. That much is almost certain, but fair play to Kearney for trying something different in the run-up.