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Richard Tait ban leaves St Mirren boss Jim Goodwith with defensive headache

St Mirren v Celtic – Scottish Premiership – Simple Digital Arena
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin is delighted to welcome back two goalkeepers for Saturday’s visit of Kilmarnock but he will have to do more reshuffling of his defence.

First-choice goalkeeper Jak Alnwick and back-up Dean Lyness are back after positive Covid-19 tests forced them to miss three games.

Goodwin had called upon Zdenek Zlamal of Hearts on an emergency loan as Saints’ losing run stretched to four matches.

A promising start to the season unravelled when centre-back Joe Shaughnessy was sent off while the Buddies were on their way to a third win and clean sheet in four matches.

Ten-man Ross County levelled and Saints struggled during Shaugnessy’s two-match ban before the goalkeeper situation was compounded by Richard Tait getting sent off for a rash challenge on Logan Chalmers during a 2-1 defeat at Dundee United last weekend.

The full-back’s two-match ban now gives Goodwin another headache.

“Richard knows it was a really poor decision,” Goodwin said.

“We had a conversation about it on Monday and he has held his hands up and apologised and he wishes it had never happened. As soon as he made the tackle he knew it was a poor one and there’s no arguments from us.

“Like every manager you are desperate to get your strongest XI on the park. We have had extreme difficulty doing that with positive tests and suspensions to key players.

“We are not blessed with great depth in the squad, particularly in that defensive area. So we will have to move things around in there again.

“But that’s the way it goes. Brian Rice had it last week and other managers have to deal with missing players. We will just have to deal with it ourselves as well.”

On the goalkeepers, Goodwin added: “We are delighted to get the three lads all back with the group. We have had a good few days to work with Jak and Dean, following the guidelines for their return to training.

“As much as we were delighted to get Bobby Zlamal in and very grateful to him for his services in that short week, we are delighted to get the boys back in.”

Centre-back Conor McCarthy added: “The disruptions don’t help. We had a settled unit at the start of the season and obviously with a few sendings-off and people having to self-isolate that changed.

“But the players that have stepped in are more than capable of equalling if not bettering what we have already built this season.

“It would be nice to get back to that tight unit we built up. Having shown the form we did at the start of the season, we have enough experienced players in the group to pull ourselves together and really kick on this Saturday.”