St Mirren’s James Fowler recognises Paul Hartley’s hunger

St Mirren assistant boss James Fowler expects a stiff test from Paul Hartley's Falkirk today. Picture: SNS.
St Mirren assistant boss James Fowler expects a stiff test from Paul Hartley's Falkirk today. Picture: SNS.
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St Mirren assistant manager James Fowler reckons that recently-appointed Falkirk manager Paul Hartley will be even more determined to make his time with the Bairns a success after spending six months out of work.

The league leaders travel to the Falkirk Stadium this afternoon and Fowler reckons that Hartley will be out to prove a point following his hiatus after losing his job as manager of Dundee.

Fowler said: “I had a few months out after leaving my job as Queen of the South manager and I know how hungry that period can make you. Paul has already secured promotions with Alloa and Dundee and will be out to do the same with Falkirk. In fact, he will be probably be more determined than ever to achieve success.

“He will have been disappointed at not getting off to a winning start against Inverness Caledonian Thistle last weekend and that makes this game even tougher.

“Dumbarton were difficult opponents last weekend, but we came away with a win from a ground that we did not have a good record at so we are looking forward to this game.

“We beat Falkirk 3-1 earlier in the season in a game they started favourites in after a strong Betfred Cup campaign. They have changed their manager and some players since then so this will be a tough challenge.”

Hartley’s initial game ended in a goalless draw and the former Scotland midfielder, who recruited Jimmy Nicholl and Tam Ritchie to his backroom staff this week, reckons that if he can add a potency to his side they can defeat the Paisley men.

“We have only scored six goals in the Championship,” said Hartley before adding: “And that is not enough. Having taken the team last weekend I am aware that there are other areas where we can get better in, but scoring goals 
has been the main focus in training.

“Hopefully that will improve soon and hopefully it will improve in what is a massive game. We will look for a positive performance and the win which would lay down a bit of marker for the rest of the season. St Mirren are the top of the league as they have been the best team so far this season, but winning would give us some momentum. We need to start winning and putting points on board and this would be a great game to start in.”

Third-placed Dunfermline welcome second-placed surprise package Livingston to East End Park, with Pars boss Allan Johnston saying: “Livingston have won five out of their last six games and any team that does that in a league as competitive as this one deserves great respect. We will give them that.”

Dundee United are looking to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Livingston by seeing off Inverness at Tannadice.

Manager Ray McKinnon said: “That was a sore afternoon. We lost a poor goal and when we were dominating we lost a second to a sucker punch.

“Beating Inverness would be the perfect way to get going again, however it will not 
be easy as they played well 
at Falkirk and should have won.”

Morton manager Jim Duffy reckons that grinding out a 1-0 win at Brechin City was the perfect preparation for taking on visitors Dumbarton.

Duffy said: “Brechin gave us very little room to work in, but we kept on going until we got a late winner. It will be as difficult against Dumbarton, but if we get a similar result then I will be pleased.”

Sons manager Stephen Aitken said: “Morton away is one of the most difficult games there is as they have players that will punish you if you switch off. We need to concentrate for the full 90 minutes.”

Queen of the South manager Gary Naysmith is taking nothing for granted at Brechin City as the bottom-of-the-table side are improving in every game. He said: “When you look at Brechin’s recent results it shows that they are getting better as they were unfortunate to lose at St Mirren to a late goal and it was the same again against Morton last weekend. They have played everyone in the league now so they know the standards expected.”

Brechin boss Darren Dods said: “We have improved defensively, but now we need to improve up front.”