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St Johnstone’s Michael O’Halloran targets Europa Conference League group stage

St Johnstone’s Michael O’Halloran is looking to use his experience
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

St Johnstone winger Michael O’Halloran aims to utilise their recent cup-tie prowess to fire the Perth club into the Europa Conference League group stage.

Saints host LASK on Thursday with the play-off tied at 1-1 following the first leg in Austria.

The Perth side have not lost in 14 domestic cup ties under Callum Davidson and the end of the away goals rule in European competition means the second leg is a simple winner-takes-all event.

“It’s got that cup final feel from it, the carrot is there to go through to the group stages,” O’Halloran said.

“I hope to use my experience there, and we have all got that experience. When you look at some of the teams in the conference, it’s a great incentive for us.

“If you look at our squad it’s still relatively young but for the boys to have that experience, it can only help.

“Not just the finals but the semis and going to Ibrox and winning on penalties.”

Saints were well worth their draw in Klagenfurt and could have added to their lead before conceding a penalty that allowed their opponents to level.

O’Halloran expects both sides to go for broke in Perth.

The former Rangers player said: “You saw how direct they were in the first half but they kept the ball really well as well.

“It’s a one-off game and we need a winner so I expect them to come and have a go.

“We are going to need to do that as well. We are at home so we want to impose ourselves. It would be nice to get an early goal and settled ourselves down. We will be going at it and we expect the same from them.”

McDiarmid Park is expected to be full after a capacity crowd attended Saints’ Europa League clash against Galatasaray.

“It’s so strange going from last year to when nobody was allowed in to the Galatasaray game, which was brilliant,” O’Halloran said.

“Hopefully they all come again on Thursday night and we can give them something on the pitch to remember.

“It’s great having them there to give us their backing and long may it continue.”