Buddies boss eyes semi salvation

PA Sport
Manager Danny Lennon is looking forward to the break from league football

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Manager Danny Lennon is looking forward to the break from league football

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon has urged his players to bounce back from the disappointment of losing to Dundee United by booking their place in the last four of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

A second-half Johnny Russell penalty was all that separated the two sides in a closely fought encounter in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League in Paisley on Saturday. Next up for Saints is a midweek trip to Aberdeen in the quarter-finals of the League Cup and Lennon is desperate to progress further in the competition.

Lennon said: "It will be nice to get a break from the marathon of the league campaign. We go to Aberdeen for a very challenging game against a team who are doing very well at this minute in time."

He added: "But there's a prize at stake of a place in a semi-final of a big competition, with a lot of glory and big finances for the club. There's a lot at stake on Tuesday."

Russell beat new signing Rudi Skacel to the ball to step up for the penalty that ended a run of six SPL games without a win for United.

He said: "I think there was a bit of confusion. The boys said to Rudi to hit it and I don't know if Rudi wanted it or not. I ran after the ball so I was taking it. It's usually Jon Daly who takes the penalties but he let me take it and I was chuffed to get a goal."

Daly was top goalscorer with 22 goals last season, but has been asked to shore up the defence in recent games.

Russell admits he misses the support up front from the Irishman, but cannot argue with the job Daly is doing at the back.

The forward said: "I just need to get on with it and work hard for the team and try to hold the ball up as much as I can and bring the rest into play. It's good to have big Jon up there, he always talks to you and helps your game.

"I do miss him in that respect but he has been brilliant for us at the back. We've got our top goalscorer playing in defence and it's credit to him that he can play there. What a great job he does there."

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