Thu, Dec


Collin SamuelSoca Warrior Jason Scotland used St Johnstone as a stepping stone to the riches of the English Premiership.

And the Perth club will benefit if his international colleague Collin Samuel attracts interest from south of the border.

But yesterday, manager Derek McInnes stressed that the Caribbean players have contrasting styles.

But if he can keep Samuel fit, the former Dundee United and Toronto player will turn up the heat on SPL rivals as the season unfolds.

World Cup veteran Samuel would love to perform at the top level but that means scaling heights with Saints.

McInnes admits both Trinidad men have star quality but he said: “Jason will always score more goals but Sammy has pace that really unnerves defenders.

“The key is that he has to be in tip-top physical condition.

“Sammy is fit and we have to keep it that way.

“Then he can exploit the power and explosive pace that’s in his locker.

“He has done well against the Old Firm and that has been highlighted.

“But he has done well for us in other games. Maybe he keeps his best for the bigger games but Sammy has to work hard to reproduce that level of performance in every match.”

While Samuel was disappointed to be overlooked for the Trinidad and Tobago squad, McInnes revealed Saints seized the opportunity to work with him one-on-one over the last fortnight.

“We know how much he wants to represent his country and that can be great for the ego and confidence.

“But he scored at Turriff and the smile was back.

“The Rangers game was obviously on his mind. And he realised early on against Rangers that he had the beating of their centre halves.”

McInnes was refusing to be downcast despite another 90 minutes where the performance wasn’t matched by points.

He said: “The result, and I accept that is the most important thing, was the only disappointment.

There were so many positives and I believe we are improving in terms of performance against the better sides in the SPL. The effort, composure and threat was there.

“Maybe we could have reinforced our superiority before half-time. A two goal lead would not have given the wrong reflection of the first-half but we stopped making positive passes for a spell.

“Rangers’ first was scrappy and there was a foul on Steven Anderson.”

McInnes revealed that former Celtic, Kilmarnock and Scotland goalkeeper Gordon Marshall was coaching the Perth keepers once a week.

A highly regarded coach, he is involved with the Scotland U19 set-up and was with Hibs until the summer.

McInnes said: “Obviously this is a special position and without a shadow of a doubt Alan Main, Graeme Smith and Euan McLean will all benefit from Gordon’s input.

“It’s good to have him at the club. Gordon has a reputation as a top coach and a top guy. I had no hesitation in bringing him in when I heard there was a chance.”

Saints, who head to Kilmarnock this weekend, have another closed doors game scheduled today to give Rutkiewicz, who has shaken off a back injury, Kevin Moon, Graeme Smith and Peter MacDonald another run.