Boss Oran Kearney is looking for international inspiration from Duckens Nazon as St Mirren resume their fight for Ladbrokes Premiership survival.
The 24-year-old striker, on loan from Sint-Truiden in Belgium, scored a terrific goal for Haiti in their 2-1 CONCACAF Nations League qualifying win against Cuba on Sunday. The victory clinched qualification to League A and entry to the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Ahead of the rearranged Premiership game against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park tonight – the original fixture before the international break was called off due to the weather – Kearney, pictured, is hoping Nazon has been boosted sufficiently to help get the Buddies off the bottom of the table, where they sit one point behind Dundee.
He said: “I have seen footage of the goal and it is a fantastic goal. It can be double-edged when they go on international duty. You run the risk of injury or overuse. But also, if they arrive back on the back of success like that and the euphoria that comes with that, you are hoping that they will carry that into their form and matches here.”
Victory over the Perth side and against Dundee on Saturday would take the Buddies five points clear of the Dens Park outfit but Kearney insists he has not “really looked too far ahead”.
He said: “The focus is to make sure we get a big performance [tonight]. It can be a huge catalyst for Saturday so it is so important we take care of what is in front of our nose first and if that is the case then Saturday will look after itself.
“Our destiny is in our hands and it is about how we perform in our games.”
St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright believes his side need to win tonight to retain chances of a top-six finish.
The Perth outfit have garnered one point from the last 24 and sit in ninth place, seven points behind sixth-place Hibernian.
Tonight’s match is their game in hand and with only four fixtures to go before the split, Wright claims victory is essential for top-half hopes.
He told the club’s official website. “I still believe we can do it but we need to start winning games. If we don’t win the match we can pretty much wave goodbye to our chances as it will leave us with a lot to do.
“We’re more than capable of going on a run though and I think it’s probably going to require us picking up ten points from our remaining games which we can do.
“We’ve been on a bad run and it’s been individual errors in games that have cost us. In addition to that we haven’t made the most of our possession by creating chances in the final third.
“If we’re going to put things right we need to refocus and get the three points against a St Mirren side that’s fighting for their lives.”
Wright is boosted by the return of goalkeeper Zander Clark who has recovered from a hamstring complaint although there are other injury problems.
The Northern Irishman said: “Zander will come back in and that’s great because he’s been excellent for us this season.
“We will, however, be without a few players who have picked up injuries. Blair Alston and Callum Hendry both have groin problems and will miss the match. There’s also a doubt over David Wotherspoon who has taken a knock to his ankle so we’ll assess him. On top of those three we have Niall Keown and Drey Wright out too.”