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Scoring first against St Johnstone is vital, insists Buddies boss Jim Goodwin

St Mirren v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – St Mirren Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Jim Goodwin has stressed the importance of St Mirren grabbing the opener against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.

The Buddies boss noted the competitive nature of the cinch Premiership this season, with his side sitting in eighth place, four points ahead of second-bottom Dundee but with a victory in Perth possibly taking them into the top six.

Goodwin is looking for Saints to respond to the 1-0 home defeat to the Dens Park outfit last Saturday, days after having to battle back from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 at Motherwell, and believes they will make it easier for themselves if they get in front against Callum Davidson’s men.

“We did well in terms of possession, we had well over 60 per cent of the ball against Dundee, unfortunately we didn’t create any real clear-cut chances,” said the Paisley manager, who does not expect Jamie McGrath (hip) and Ethan Erhahon (hamstring) to have recovered while Matt Millar is a doubt with a calf problem.

“We are looking to bounce back this weekend against a very good St Johnstone team.

“I think the first goal in our league, it (Dundee) just showed the importance of that.

“St Johnstone are quite similar to Dundee really, if they get their noses in front they are very good at shutting up shop and getting bodies behind the ball and making life difficult for you.

“Dundee, once they got that goal advantage, were able to sit off the game and they sat there with 10/11 behind the ball for the majority of it.

“You see some of the best teams in the world struggle to break down teams like that.

“Celtic and Rangers come up against that every week and it isn’t always easy to find that killer pass or creative spark and we couldn’t do it on Saturday, it is as simple as that.

“You have to credit the opposition, Dundee defended really well, their two centre-halves dealt with pretty much everything we put into the box and the goalkeeper made a couple of crucial saves when he had to.

“So there is not a great deal we need to change, we don’t need to make wholesale changes, we have been playing very well of late.

“That is the first game in a long time we have failed to score and hopefully in Perth we will get back to scoring goals and back to winning ways.”