23 May 2023

Steven MacLean says St Johnstone will not ease off ahead of the finish line

23 May 2023

Steven MacLean has assured relegation-threatened Kilmarnock and Dundee United that there is no chance of St Johnstone taking it easy when they visit Ross County on Wednesday.

Saints can no longer finish in the bottom two of the cinch Premiership but their interim boss knows 10th-placed Killie and 12th-placed United will have a vested interest in how the 11th-placed Staggies get on.

MacLean insists his side have no intention of slackening off in a match that could have a big bearing on how the relegation battle unfolds.

“We’ve got a duty to everybody,” he said. “We want to go there and win for our fans, for ourselves and also for the other teams in the league.

“We’ll be going up there to be positive, like I want to be in every game, and we’ll be trying to win the game.”

MacLean has steered Saints to safety with two wins and a draw in his four games since stepping up to replace Callum Davidson.

“I’m delighted with the players,” he said. “I challenged them to stay up and they’ve done it with two games to spare, which is very good.

“They’ve shown a great attitude and been very good for me. But we’ve still got two games to go and we want to win them both. We’re concentrating on Ross County just now and then we’ll take care of the Livingston game on Sunday.”

MacLean has challenged Cammy Ballantyne to try to establish himself at Saints after the 23-year-old midfielder, who has spent the majority of his senior career with the Perth club out on loan at Montrose, finally made his first start against Kilmarnock on Saturday.

“I was delighted for him,” said MacLean. “I thought his performance was excellent. His energy levels were great and he showed a bit of quality as well.

“If selected against Ross County, hopefully he can back it up. It’s up to him now. We gave him an opportunity to play on Saturday and he took that opportunity well.

“It’s up to him to go and make his mark now and try to make himself a regular in the first team.”

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