Nigel Hasselbaink produced a top-drawer performance to guide St Johnstone to a 2-1 victory over his former club St Mirren and then insisted he will have to work hard to retain his starting place.
St Johnstone - Hasselbaink (22), M Davidson (40)
St Mirren - Guy (47)
Hasselbaink came back to haunt his previous employers after 22 minutes, collecting Murray Davidson’s flick-on and slotting the ball under goal-keeperCraig Samson.
Davidson added a second after 40 minutes when Samson parried Chris Millar’s low cross, to leave the midfielder with the easiest of finishes from six yards.
St Mirren responded three minutes into the second half through Lewis Guy, and dominated the majority of the second half although the hosts claimed all three points.
St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas had only 13 fit senior players to choose from as they recorded their fourth successive win in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, but will be boosted by the return to fitness of Craig Beattie who appeared as a late substitute and Rowan Vine following a two-match suspension.
“I was just treating it like a normal game, it was good to score. The most important thing was the three points though,” said Hasselbaink.
“We have a lot of quality here, the experience of Craig Beattie is good for the squad and Rowan Vine will be back from suspension too – the competition for places will be very good. Everybody wants to play.”
Hasselbaink combined well with Gregory Tade throughout and the Dutch striker believes the pair are benefiting from their close friendship, which has developed from living in the same apartment block.
“We stay together and talk a lot about football, we know each other well and understand each other’s strengths,” Hasselbaink added.
Danny Lennon was disappointed St Mirren could not mark the club’s 135th anniversary with a positive result at McDiarmid Park. The Paisley side dominated proceedings after Guy’s goal three minutes into the second half, but could not turn their possession into goals.
“This is the 135th anniversary of a great football club,” said Lennon after the defeat. “But there will be more great glory days to come. From the way we took the game to St Johnstone in the first 25 minutes, I thought we were exceptional. We had nothing to show for that and I thought it was only a matter of time before we got the equalising goal.”