Date: 23rd July 2008 at 9:48am
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The Clarets complete their Scottish pre-season friendly tour tonight with a match against St Johnstone, their third game North of the Border in five days.

It will be an emotional return for Owen Coyle and Sandy Stewart, the former management team at the Perth club.

So apart from the managerial link what do we know about St Johnstone?

The club were formed in 1884 although didn’t play their first match until 1885. Based in Perth, Scotland the club got its name from an old middle ages term for Perth.

Perth was colloquially known as ‘St. John’s Toun’

Despite their early formation, they have still to win the top flight Scottish championship and have not yet won either the Scottish Cup or Scottish League Cup. The nearest they have been to winning the Cup was to appear in two finals of the League Cup, losing first to Celtic 1-0 in 1969 and 2-1 to Rangers in 1998.

The Saints do have some silverware though.

They won the Scottish Consolation Cup in 1911-12.

St Johnstone have also managed to reach two Scottish Challenge Cup finals, losing 1-0 to Stranraer in 1996,but winning the trophy in 2007 with a 3-2 victory over Dunfermline. The recent victory was mainly down to the exploits of the former Management team, Owen Coyle and Sandy Stewart but Coyle was to miss the celebration by three days having signed on as manager at Turf Moor.

Currently playing in the Scottish First Division, St Johnstone are now managed by Saints midfielder Derek McInnes who was appointed as player-manager to replace Coyle on 27 November 2007 after Coyle’s assistant, Sandy Stewart, left his caretaker-manager role to join his former boss at Burnley. The team last season finished in third place and they also reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup for the second consecutive season,but this time losing to Rangers on penalties after extra time.

St Johnstone play at the McDiarmid Park stadium in Perth, a ground with an official capacity of 10,673.

Derek McInnes expects Coyle and Stewart will be given a warm welcome by the Saints fans tonight on their first feturn to their former club.

“It`s a game we are really looking forward to, said McInnes

“It will be good to see Owen back here in Perth, and ideally I would have liked to have been facing Burnley with a full squad to choose from.

“But, whatever team takes the field, we`ll be looking to do well in the game.

“Everything has been geared up to getting the season off to a good start.”

McInnes also reminds the Clarets how loud our gaffer can be!

‘Usually I have to wear ear plugs because of his screeching in the dug out!

“It`s an attractive fixture against a quality Championship side and Owen has made some very good signings, including Kevin MacDonald from Dundee and Christian Kalvenes from United. And the fans will get a chance to see our new arrivals.”

Owen Coyle speaking to the Perth Advertiser, had this to say about his former club and time there:

“I had a great time at Perth and those memories will never leave me. The attachment to St Johnstone and the people is just so strong’

The Kick off tonight will be 7:30 pm and so far no announcements have been made about the potential Clarets line up. We can expect some more experimentation no doubt though and we will definitely be seeing our new trialist, striker Gatis Kalnin? again as Coyle teakes a further look before deciding whether to offer the 26 year old a contract or not.

Will Coyle give new keeper, Diego Penny another 90 minute run out, further cementing the idea he will be our first choice ahead of Brian Jensen? Jensen was not even on the bench in our last game against Partick Thistle having featured in the US Tour matches and the first match of our Scottish tour against Queen of the South. Jensen to his credit though, is at the top of his game at the moment and has played well pre-season saving the day on many occasions. The unlucky Kiraly has yet to play in a pre-season friendly and looks resigned once more at most to being on the bench.

Two other players sitting out the last match and not named in Coyle’s 21 were captain Steven Caldwell and Remco van der Schaaf. Van der Schaaf has now missed out on the last few friendlies and appears to have an injury. It will be interesting to see if these two are selected for tonight’s game.

There are no real clues as to the side but we can get a flavour of what to expect in this match and the remaining pre-season friendlies by the comments Owen Coyle made today to the Official Site:

“We are quite meticulous in knowing exactly how many minutes everyone has played, but I’ve said before, particularly in terms of the team we see starting, that it’s important that players have at least five or six 90 minutes under their belt.

“I think we will start formulating that after tonight and certainly from Saturday onwards you will probably find that we will start taking a little bit more care and be more selective in terms of who plays.

“There are a lot of players though who have given me food for thought. And regardless of who you bring in, I have said to them all it’s a level playing field and the person playing the best will keep the jersey.

“The bottom line is it’s up to every single one of them.

“There is competition right throughout the side and we don’t want any ‘gimmes’. We want them knowing they have to be at their best to play again the next week.”

Vital Burnley will bring you the team news and key highlights of the game as the details become available and will provide half time and full time summaries all via updates on this article so please keep coming back.


The Teams:

Penny again in goal with Latvian trialist Gatis Kalnins on the bench.Jay Rodriguez, Remco van der Schaaf (must be injured) and Kevin McDonald are all rested.

Burnley: Penny, Duff, Kalvenes, Carlisle, Caldwell, Mahon, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Paterson, Akinbiyi

Subs: Jensen, Alexander, Jordan, Jones, Gudjonsson, A MacDonald, Kalnins, Berisha, Kay

St Johnstone (starting): McLean, Irvine, Trialist, Millar, Rutkiewicz, McCaffrey, Swankie, Hardie, Jackson, P MacDonald, Sherrin.

Subs: Craig, Milne, Holmes, Weatherston, Kerr, Reynolds, Trailist

Kick Off: 7:30 pm McDiarmid Park, Perth Wednesday 23rd July

Half Time: St Johnstone 1-2 Clarets. A Wade Elliott cross finds Paterson to put the Clarets 1-0 up after 10 minutes, before Saints,Paul Sheerin equalises following a Penny save just two minutes later. Akinbiyi restores lead after a pass by Paterson on 34 minutes.

Latest after 70 mins: St Johnstone 1-2 Clarets.

Berisha has come on for Blake and Kalnins has replaced Paterson.

Full Time: St Johnstone 1-3 Clarets

Adam Kay came on for Alan Mahon with about 15 minutes left to play. Macdonald converts a low cross from Jones to make it 3-1 with 2 minutes to go.

Game over! The Clarets cruise to secure their second win in their final game of the three match Scottish tour. Match report and Coyle comments to follow. Two wins and one draw in Scotland! Bring on Accy this Saturday!


Burnley: Penny, Duff (Alexander 46), Kalvenes (Jordan 46), Carlisle, Caldwell, Mahon (Kay 72), Elliott (A MacDonald 59), McCann (Gudjonsson 49), Blake (Berisha 68), Paterson (Kalnins 57), Akinbiyi (Jones 46) that explains the substitutions then!


..and here is another strange bit of news about the game!

According to the Official Site’s report of tonight’s 3-1 victory against St Johnstone:

“And in the 50th minute, Kalnins was introduced in bizarre fashion. Paterson was incensed after appearing to keep the ball in play, but after understandably remonstrating at the officials, referee Stephen Finney ordered Coyle to substitute the striker”

Odd,but it appears common sense from the Ref! Too many refs send players off or produce yellow cards in pre-season friendlies sometimes leading to bans at the start of the season proper when we need them most! Sounds a good call, but we wait to hear more!