Scottish Premiership playoff final preview

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Inverness will host St Johnstone on Friday night as the first leg of the Scottish premiership playoff final begins.

Inverness reached this stage after defeating Arbroath over two legs. In the semi-finals neither side managed to break the deadlock leading to a dramatic penalty shootout where the 9-man inverness team won 5-3.

Inverness have held onto their playoff position for the majority of the season with a consistent league record, this has led them to a third place finish in the Scottish championship. They will have to dig deep once again for another two-legged tie if they want to see their team seal promotion.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – MAY 22: St Johnstone captain Jason Kerr holds the trophy after his team defeat Hibernian 1-0 during the Scottish Cup Final between St Johnstone and Hibernian at Hampden Park on May 22, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

St Johnstone face relegation in the playoffs having finished 11th in the Premiership this season. They will look for a better performance than their last match, where they lost 4-0 to Hibernian.

They have been the lowest scorers in the league this season with 24 goals scored.

This match comes just under a year after St Johnstone won the cup double. The Saints have looked a different team this year and their fans will be hoping for a positive result tonight after a poor season.

No team has ever managed to come through three playoff ties and secure promotion but this Inverness side will give their all in hopes of creating history.

Inverness manager Billy Dodds said: “My players are ready for it. We’re in a good place, we’ve got momentum, we’ve got confidence, we’ve earned the right to be here and we’re going to give it our best shot.

“It’s a hard route to go through the playoffs. Nobody’s done it and we’d love to be the first. My boys are more than capable.

St Johnstone have started to produce more positive results since March going through April unbeaten in the league and getting 4 points from their last two games before their loss to Hibs.

Saints manager Callum Davidson spoke about the turnaround saying: “We are on our way up from where we were in January.

“We managed to stave off finishing 12th and now we have the opportunity to stay up. We will go out and have a go”.

St Johnstone are on the brink of breaking their record of 12 consecutive seasons in the top flight and a loss in this tie would stop that.

After the semi final second leg against Arbroath, Devine and Duffy will be suspended for tonight’s match because of red cards. They will be going into Friday night’s game with a total of 5 players out, This includes injured players Sutherland, MacGregor and Walsh.

St Johnstone managed to rest a few regular starters at Easter Road in preparation for tonight’s game. However, they will be without the services of Gallacher, Kane, Wotherspoon and Bryson all missing with long term injuries.

Callum Davidson spoke about the size of these games saying: “It’s huge for the club. We don’t want to be in this position but St Johnstone don’t have the right to be in the premiership.

“We work extremely hard to be there and we will do that on Friday night and Monday to make sure we give our supporters, the people of Perth and everyone who works here the chance to enjoy what comes with the Premiership.”

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