Football - Goncalves form no suprise to Lennon

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon claims he has not been surprised by the impact Esmael Goncalves has made on Scottish football so far.

PA Sport
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Esmael Goncalves

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a blistering start to his Saints career by netting four goals in three games since joining on loan from Rio Ave. And, as the Buddies prepare to take on Aberdeen on Saturday, Lennon believes the Portuguese will continue to be a handful for teams even though they know what to expect from him now.

He said: "I'm not surprised. If I didn't think he would have an impact on our football club and help the group then he wouldn't be here. He's certainly hit the ground running and long may that continue."

Lennon added: "A lot of people don't know a great deal about him but they'll quickly get to know him. I believe he will be one of those players, whether you know his strengths or weaknesses, he will always cause problems anyway."

The Pittodrie pitch appeared to be in a poor state when Scotland played Estonia in a friendly on Wednesday night - but Lennon has no fears about the surface ahead of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash.

He said: "We know the circumstances and the particularly nasty weather that we have here in Scotland. It can be difficult, with the demands of the game being put upon it, and we've just got to go with whatever the conditions are.

"It's not within our control. The only thing we can control is our attitude and the way we want to go about our business."

However, midfielder Conor Newton did express concerns about the playing conditions. He said: "I saw the pitch for the Scotland game and it looks like it's going to be a battle to be honest. It looked like it was hard to get the ball down and play and there were bobbles all over the place. It might not suit me but we've got to go there and battle."

However, Newton has been impressed by the standard of the SPL - and Saints - since his loan move from Newcastle. He said: "It's a massive league. It's a very good standard and St Mirren play some brilliant stuff.

"When you look at Paul McGowan, Kenny McLean and John McGinn, they're just popping the ball around for fun. It could be mistaken for the Premier League when you watch some of the stuff they play."

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