DANNY Lennon believes Jim Goodwin’s reputation as Scottish football’s “villain” is down to opponents over-reacting to challenges by the St Mirren skipper.
The Buddies have lodged an appeal against the red card the 32-year-old defensive midfielder picked up in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Hibernian for his tackle on Kevin Thomson and expect him to be available for Friday night’s clash against Scottish Premiership relegation play-off rivals Partick Thistle at Firhill.
Looking ahead to yet another crucial fixture against the Jags, Buddies boss Lennon gave Goodwin a glowing character reference, insisting that much of the criticism levelled at the Irishman has been “unjust”.
He said: “We have made an appeal, he will be available for Friday, and my staff and players are 100 percent behind Jim on this.
“He is a great guy, a fantastic footballer and has great character.
“There seems to be this reputation that precedes him, that he is this bad guy, this villain, and that quite simply isn’t true.
“There is no doubt in my mind that there are players who go out there and over react any time Jim Goodwin makes that (challenge).
“He is no angel but a lot of the criticism he has come under this season had been unjust.
“I have had a chat with Jim this week and he always take things on board.
“He is a very passionate guy and as I say, I didn’t see a great deal in what he had done and I am 100 per cent behind him.”
As the race to avoid the drop hots up, St Mirren have won their last two matches and sit in eighth place, a point ahead of Thistle.
However, Lennon knows that, with four games remaining, his side are still only three points above 11th-placed Ross County who currently occupy the relegation play-off position.
“The win last Saturday was important,” he said.
“We have dragged Hibs into the battle to avoid the play-off position but it is going to take a brave man to predict anything at this moment.
“The thing about this beautiful game is that it is predictably unpredictable.
“Partick come into the game on the back of a very good away win at Kilmarnock so they will take confidence from that.
“But most of their victories this season have been away from home so that is something that we will try to exploit.
“There should be a great atmosphere so it has the makings of a great game.”