St Johnstone vs Dundee : Preview and Prediction Match Previews Scotland Premiership Sunday, 23rd October 2016

Saints boss keen to keep rivals in check

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright wants his team to seize the chance for a boost to their position in the Ladbrokes Premiership chasing pack.

Saints will leapfrog Rangers and draw level with Hearts on Betfred Cup semi-final weekend if they beat bottom club Dundee on Sunday.

A victory would be a welcome boost ahead of their trip to face Rangers on Wednesday after Saints dropped behind the Ibrox side the previous weekend, when Kilmarnock won at McDiarmid Park.

Wright said: "It is another chance to keep ourselves in touch with Hearts, Aberdeen and Rangers and that's what we are going to try to do.

"We don't want that group to be breaking away, we want to stay in touch with the so-called bigger teams for as long as possible and hopefully we can do that.

"It will be a difficult game, we know that, and we must make sure we have a similar type of performance and are a bit more ruthless than last weekend.

"We will not underestimate the challenge we face because of their league position."

With Dundee United's relegation, Sunday's game is the first Tayside derby of the season and Wright hopes that factor will help his players.

Wright said: "It's a wee bit extra special, live on TV, they always bring a decent crowd down.

"There should be a good atmosphere, which I think will help our players.

"At times last week was a bit quiet, even though the team had done really well and put in a good first-half performance."

Dundee manager Paul Hartley is confident his side's season will turn soon but he admits it would be a "massive" lift to get off the bottom this weekend.

Dundee make the short trip to Perth as the bottom club after failing to record a victory since the opening day of the campaign.

Hartley has been encouraged by recent displays - his men hit the frame of the goal four times in a 2-0 defeat by Hearts last weekend, after losing to Celtic by a Scott Brown strike seven days earlier.

But he knows that getting off the foot of the table quickly will be important.

"It's a big thing for us," he said. "Massive. We have a big week coming up, three games in seven days.

"I'm positive, if they keep working as hard as they did over the last two games, and the last couple of weeks in training, and I feel good about the shape.

"But we're not stupid either, the first nine games we have not been quite good enough. We know we need to pick up points.

"Things are tight down the bottom, it's not a position we want to be in, but I still have great belief in the squad. The last two performances have been pleasing. We have not got results against two good teams but we created a lot of chances last week.

"The players are great to work with and hopefully it will turn on Sunday. We have worked really hard on finishing this week, so hopefully if we keep creating chances, we will take them."

Head To Head

Dundee and St Johnstone have each won two, drawn two, and lost two of their last six meetings with one another.

St Johnstone vs Dundee Stats

St Johnstone have averaged 0.75 goals per game on home turf this season and 1.22 goals per game home and away. Dundee have averaged 0.89 goals per game so far this term. Just 33% of St Johnstone's games have seen Over 2.5 Goals as well, whilst 44% of Dundee's have.

St Johnstone Team News

Right back Keith Watson and centre back Tam Scobbie are both sidelined for the hosts.

Dundee Team News

Centre back James McPake remains sidelined with a dislocated kneecap.

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