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JASON SCOTLAND and Kelvin Jack helped each other through the trauma of a mid-air scare as they battled their way back from international duty for Trinidad and Tobago.

However, today they will be thinking only of themselves and their respective clubs when St Johnstone and Dundee meet in a crucial Division One encounter at McDiarmid Park.

The Saints striker and Dark Blues goalkeeper are good pals and together endured the chaos of a cockpit fire and emergency landing on Costa Rica nine days ago as they tried to fly back from a World Cup qualifier.

Now, though, it will be every man for himself in Perth this afternoon.

“Kelvin and I get on great, we socialise and visit each other a lot,” said Scotland.

“We have been speaking nearly every day since that journey and we both think it took a lot out of us.

“He told me he was still feeling the effects of the trip this week, and I wasn’t doing that well myself.

“But we have to put it behind us and it is nice to have this big match to look forward to now.

“I know the two clubs are from different cities but this is still a derby for us because Dundee are seen as St Johnstone’s main rivals.

“So I will be looking to score goals against Kelvin and he understands that, just as I understand that he will do everything in his power to keep a clean sheet for his team.

“We will shake hands and wish each other good luck at the start but after that all I will be thinking about is helping St Johnstone.”

Jack, too, won’t be letting friendship get in the way of the task in hand.

“Jason and I go way back to when we were both playing in Trinidad,” said the Dens goalie.

“But that is all forgotten when you have a job to do.”

Saints go into today’s fixture in fine fettle, having followed up a decent display against league leaders Ross County last weekend with a powerful performance against Raith Rovers in the Bell’s Cup.

Scotland missed the County game because of his travel troubles but was back in action on Tuesday night and bagged a well-taken goal in that 5-1 win.

“If we can beat Dundee then it will have been a very good week for the club,” added Scotland.

“We have a lot of quality players here and we feel we should be moving up the league table.

“If we get a victory then we can then push on from there and go on to have a successful season.”

Scotland won’t want to be reminded of this but he was involved for Dundee United when Dundee last won an away game, coming on as a sub to replace James Grady during a 2-1 Tannadice triumph for the Dens men.

That was all of 13 months ago, though, and you have to back even further to a May 2004 trip to Aberdeen to find the Dark Blues’ last success outside their own city.

Therefore, new boss Alan Kernaghan will be hoping he is blessed by a change in fortune on his return to his former club.