October 20, 2012
Lomas: Winning has made all the difference at McDiarmid Park
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.3||1.4|
|Goals against *||0.9||1.3|
|Last 5 home||W-W-D-D-W||L-L-L-L-D|
|Last 5 away||L-W-D-L-D||W-L-W-L-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: St Johnstone | Kilmarnock|
|3/12||A: Dundee United||3/14||H: Celtic|
|3/15||H: Ross County||3/22||A: Aberdeen|
|3/22||H: Hibernian||3/29||A: Motherwell|
|3/25||A: St Mirren||4/5||H: St Johnstone|
|3/29||H: Partick Thistle|
Steve Lomas says McDiarmid Park is a far happier place now that St Johnstone are on form.
The Perth men struggled at the start of the season and were bottom of the league when they pulled off a shock home win over champions Celtic on September 15.
Saints' subsequent resurgence has taken them behind third-placed Aberdeen on goal difference and a home Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over Kilmarnock on Saturday would be their fifth successive top-flight victory - a feat last achieved in season 1970-71.
Lomas considered the difference winning has made to the St Johnstone camp, and said: "Any manager that tells you that it doesn't make a difference is a liar.
"It is brighter if you are winning.
"Everything you do during the week, the training, planning, video analysis, all comes down to that 90 minutes when it is 11 versus 11 and it is about who comes out on top.
"It is down to the lads. They have showed strength of character and it turned it around.
"They knew that, apart from the Aberdeen game, they were playing well.''
Lomas continued: "They are a great bunch, even if they don't play well they give it everything they have got and I see how hard they work in training every day.
"But record or no record, we just want the three points.
"It will be tough. Kilmarnock have some decent players and are capable of beating anyone as they proved that in the cup final last season against Celtic.
"We will have to be on our game if we want to get the three points.''
Lomas is aware of the threat Killie striker Cillian Sheridan will pose.
The Irishman was on loan at McDiarmid Park last season and impressed the former Manchester City and West Ham midfielder as he helped Saints into a top-six spot.
Lomas said: "I would love to have had him back. I would take him back tomorrow.
"Cillian did a lot of the donkey work for Francisco Sandaza last season, a lot of work that went unseen by many people but not unseen by us and the lads.
"I said to him often that he can be as good as he wants to be.
"He is 6ft 2in, good in the air, has decent pace and is left-footed.
"All credit must go to Kenny Shiels and his board for getting him.''
St Johnstone will have striker Rowan Vine back from a three-match suspension.
A late decision will be taken on Aberdeen loanee Peter Pawlett, who is just back in training after recovering from a hamstring problem, but striker Craig Beattie is out with a thigh injury.
Callum Davidson and Jamie Adam (both back) and Steven MacLean (elbow) remain on the sidelines.
Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels hopes some extra tactical work can help his side bounce back against in-form St Johnstone.
Shiels has used the international break to hone his strategy for the SPL clash following the 3-1 home defeat by Aberdeen last time out.
"We didn't take much of a break this time and hopefully it will work in our favour, because we did a lot of game preparation this week on the tactical side of our preparation,'' Shiels told the SPL's official YouTube channel.
"So we are up and ready and we will see where that takes us.
"St Johnstone are the form team in the league and it's going to be a tough game.''
Killie are boosted by the return of three key players in goalkeeper Cammy Bell, left-back Jeroen Tesselaar and striker Paul Heffernan.
The trio played in Monday's 3-1 victory over Dundee in the Under-20s league after lengthy injury lay-offs.
However, they might have to be content with a place on the bench.
"It was good to have them back but the game maybe wasn't appropriate because Dundee had a lot of young players in the team,'' Shiels said.
"As a result of that we have planned a closed-door game against Dunfermline at Kilmarnock on Tuesday to give them another game.
"But it was good to have them back and Heffernan scoring helped.
"The three of them acquitted themselves very well.''
Their return leaves Garry Hay and Danny Racchi, both of whom are recovering from knee surgery, as Killie's only absentees.
"I'm happy with the squad, although you are never content in this job,'' Shiels said.
"Our last game was a defeat so you are never happy but I and happy with the squad at our disposal.
"Hopefully we can kick on and do well on Saturday and hopefully this can be a turning point in our season.''