Football - Relaxation prepares St Mirren for final

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon relished the opportunity to get into his players' minds ahead of their Scottish Communities League Cup final against Hearts.

PA Sport
Football - Relaxation prepares St Mirren for final
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Danny Lennon is fully focused on the League Cup final

Lennon took his players to St Andrews to train and prepare for the Hampden clash. And he used the extended time with his players to give some individual pep talks ahead of the club's second League Cup final in three years. Lennon showed the players footage of the celebrations when St Mirren won the 1987 Scottish Cup in a bid to inspire his players to glory.

The former Cowdenbeath manager said: "It's been a great week, we have really enjoyed the preparation and the build-up; getting away for a few days, the relaxation and the quality time we spent with the players and going over tactical strengths and weaknesses and how the game plan is going to hopefully pan out on Sunday."

Lennon went on: "But more importantly the players got away and got a little bit of quality time to themselves. That went well and it has also been good for myself that I can pull one or two of them aside and have a wee five or 10-minute chat.

"Sometimes that's difficult unless you grab them first thing in the morning or get them immediately after the training ground. Sometimes after lunch they have other agendas themselves. It was just great in the fact we were in beautiful surroundings and in a relaxed atmosphere.

"It was certainly different the way we have done it. Most clubs would probably go away together at the end of the week.

"But we felt that it would give us an upper hand to get into the players' minds from the early part of the week so we could pick that momentum up and at the tail end of the week we let the players get back to normality, spend it with their loved ones and get a night's sleep in their own beds - and raring to go on Sunday."

Only Lee Mair, David Barron and Graham Carey remain at St Mirren Park from the squad that lost 1-0 to nine-man Rangers in the 2010 final but Lennon is confident his players will handle the occasion, having seen them knock out Celtic in the last four.

He said: "You never know how they are going to be on the day but the experience they had in the semi-final will help. We know it's going to be a bigger crowd and there will be an absolutely terrific atmosphere.

"A lot of players throughout their career will not get to a final at all. For some of our players this might be their only cup final, for other ones it may be the start of many for them. My message come Sunday will be to make sure they make it an occasion that lives long in their memory for the rest of their lives and don't waste this opportunity."

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