Buddies won’t play it safe in bid for Tannadice title party

James Fowler says St Mirren took the title race initiative after a win over Dundee United in December.
James Fowler says St Mirren took the title race initiative after a win over Dundee United in December.
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St Mirren are aiming to see off Dundee United at Tannadice tonight and secure the Championship in style. However, Paisley assistant manager James Fowler has warned the Saints players that United will 
not want to play host to their title party.

A point will see Jack Ross’s side over the line and, despite the temptation to play things safe, St Mirren will be positive. “There is no point in planning for a draw,” said Fowler.

“You can do that and make one mistake and have to change everything on the pitch in a hurry. United are also a difficult team to plan for as they have done a lot of chopping and changing in recent games.

“As a result, we will concentrate on our strengths and go out and look to win.”

Fowler knows from bitter experience that their opponents will be out to delay any celebrations, as he explained: “They will not want us winning anything at Tannadice.

“Teams coming to your home and winning the league happened to me at Kilmarnock a couple of times and it 
is not a nice feeling. They are also playing for a place in the top four so it will be a tough game.”

St Mirren’s return to top-flight football after a three-year absence could have been confirmed when they beat Brechin at Glebe Park on Saturday but that was scuppered when second-placed Livingston scored to defeat Morton. However, Fowler reckons that there will be no hangover.

He added: “There was a bit of both excitement and disappointment afterwards at Glebe Park.

“We had set the players the target of getting four points from our next two games and we had just secured three of them but it was difficult not to get caught up with how the fans were feeling.

“There was a great support there and their mood was telling us what was happening at Livingston. We knew that it was a case of what might have been, however we had achieved what we had set out to which was to get a win.”

Fowler reckons that the memories of an earlier game against Csaba Laszlo’s side will help the Saints win this evening. He recalled: “When we look back at the season our 2-0 success over United in December could be viewed as a pivotal moment.

“They came to our place looking for the win that would have sent them top with a game in hand and they dominated the first half.

“However, we went out and showed belief in the second and scored two good goals. There was probably a switch in momentum that night.

“Winning that one does not make this game any easier but it reminds the players about what can be achieved when you go out and be positive.”

St Mirren have no injury or suspension worries to contend with.

Dundee United will have to improve defensively to deny 
St Mirren their party after Dumbarton exposed frailties during their 3-2 success over Laszlo’s side on Saturday.

The under-pressure manager said: “I am expecting a big improvement in our defensive display. We gave goals away really cheaply and we cannot play like that against St Mirren. They will not need any encouragement from us playing badly.

“This game is very important for Dundee United as well as we have the target of reaching the play-offs to achieve. We also want to show that we are a better side than the one that was on display on Saturday and this would be a terrific game to do that in.”

Fraser Fyvie and Emil Lyng continue to be absent for the hosts due to injury.