December 29, 2012
Lomas wary of Inverness threat
Team Stat Comparison
|St Johnstone||Inverness Caledonian Thistle|
|Goals for *||1.3||1.6|
|Goals against *||0.9||1.8|
|Last 5 home||W-D-D-W-W||L-W-D-W-D|
|Last 5 away||L-W-D-L-D||L-L-W-D-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: St Johnstone | Inverness Caledonian Thistle|
St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas hopes to end the year with a home win over a free-scoring Inverness side he believes to be "the team of the season'' so far.
Terry Butcher's men have climbed into second place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League behind Celtic with a fantastic run of form which has seen them lose only three games in all competitions.
In addition, Caley are the SPL's top scorers with 44 goals and have also scored in every match.
However, the admiring Lomas is more concerned with simply winning three points than becoming the first side this season to keep Inverness out.
The Northern Irishman said: "We've had our ups and downs this season but our performances have mostly been good.
"However, those performances have not yielded the points that they should have so we hope to sign off this year with a win.
"Terry Butcher's team have been the team of the first-half of the season and all credit to him and his troops. They are a fantastic team and it will be a very tough game.
"If we are not at the races they will turn us over as they have turned over so many sides this season. We played them up there earlier in the season and probably rode our luck a bit in getting a draw, scoring a late goal.
"So we know that they are a handful. They are scoring goals and with players like Richie Foran, Billy McKay and Andrew Shinnie they have plenty of threat in the team so we have to concentrate at the back.
"Scoring goals always helps, obviously, and they are getting them from different avenues which is a big plus and when you do that it doesn't matter so much if you do concede. But the incentive is to win three points whichever way we do it, that is what we are looking for.''
Inverness boss Terry Butcher is understandably keen for the goal-rush to keep flowing - something very much at odds with their struggles for SPL survival last term.
Caley drew 0-0 at McDiarmid Park on April 7 and another goalless draw, at home against Dunfermline, secured their Clydesdale Bank Premier League status on May 2.
"Certainly that 0-0 was a great point for us, we were still trying to stay in the SPL,'' said Butcher. "It is amazing how far we have come.
"The last 0-0 draw was against Dunfermline with three games to go. That gave us 33 points, which is what we are on now after 20 matches.
"We have a great amount of goals and we have surpassed last season's total. Nil-nil is a thing we don't do very often.
"If we did draw 0-0 it would send seismic shock waves through the SPL if we failed to score, because it has been a remarkable success story and we are making chances all the time.
"I spoke to the players and they said 'look gaffer, all we are concerned about is scoring more goals than the opposition'.
"That's a pretty basic way of looking at it but it is certainly working for us.''
Inverness will assess the fitness of defender Josh Meekings, who missed the Boxing Day draw against St Mirren with a groin injury and could return.
Nick Ross (shoulder), Simon King (ankle) and Chris Hogg (knee) are still short of fitness