ST JOHNSTONE striker Jason Scotland wants to hand his team-mates the perfect going away present today—his first goal against Dundee.
Scotland has been included in Trinidad and Tobago’s squad for the international friendly double-header against Nicaragua and Panama on October 7 and 11 respectively.
So he will pack his suitcase after this afternoon’s much-anticipated Dens Park clash between the first division’s two form teams.
He has serious business to attend to before then, however, and is determined to end his Dark Blues’ duck.
“I have played Dundee a few times now, both with St Johnstone and Dundee United,” said the former Tannadice frontman.
“I have yet to get a goal against them and this would be a good time to put that right.
“My target will always be to win the game and take the three points home but as a striker you also want to get on the scoresheet.
“It is good being a St Johnstone player just now because we are challenging at the top of the table and there is a good mood about the place.
“We are looking forward to the rest of the season.
“Dundee seem to have turned things around and have won a few games on the trot so they will be dangerous opponents for us.
“However, we are playing well, too, and feel we can go there and beat them.”
After the disappointment of the World Cup where, despite much hype in his adopted homeland, Scotland failed to feature for the Soca Warriors, the striker is looking forward to a fresh start.
“These two friendlies will give our new coach (Wim Rijsbergen) the chance to look at all his options and I hope to do well,” he said.
Saints will be without two central defensive stalwarts today, with Kevin James (knee ligament strain) and Kevin Rutkiewicz (ankle) both sidelined for the longer term.
And, as Scotland conceded, they will be missed.
“It is not just that they are great players, they are also our captain and vice-captain respectively,” he added.
“But we have a good squad and the likes of Steven Anderson has shown that he is more than capable of doing a great job at the heart of the defence.”
The doubt over striker Steven Milne (knee) remains and the former Dundee hitman will be given a fitness test before kick-off.
“Steven is still struggling to be honest, and we will just have to see how he is tomorrow,” said manager Owen Coyle last night.
“We also have one or two knocks to other players so the squad is tight, but we are still confident going into this game.
“I personally always enjoy visiting Dens Park for matches and I am sure there will be good backing for both teams.”
Dundee are just 90 minutes away from putting together their longest winning run in the league for seven- and-a-half years.
And looking to help them achieve that is a man who helped bring their last such sequence to an end in a Saints shirt.
The Dark Blues finished the 1998-99 campaign to such effect that they went into the final match of the campaign having won four on the bounce.
But they found themselves up against a Perth side—containing Danny Griffin—with everything to play for and were sunk by a Paul Kane header.
“Kano’s goal got Saints third place in the league and ensured we qualified for Europe, where of course we met Monaco,” recalled Griffin.
“Those were great times for St Johnstone.
“There were more than 10,000 there to see us beat Dundee and it’s sad that things have changed so drastically for them since then.
“I’ve been to two cup games at McDiarmid Park this season and they only needed to open the main stand for those.
“But you can be sure there will be a decent big crowd here on Saturday, such is the rivalry Saints fans have with Dundee even if from this clubs perspective it’s just another game.”
Saints’ league match at Ross County, originally scheduled for Saturday, November 11, has been rearranged because of the Dingwall team’s involvement in the Challenge Cup final.
The new date is Wednesday, November 22.