Football - Lennon warns players not to lift off in league

St Mirren boss Danny Lennon warned his players that coasting in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League will harm their chances of winning the Scottish Communities League Cup next month.

PA Sport

The Buddies are set to play Hearts in the Hampden final on March 17 but Lennon is concentrating for the moment solely on a top-six finish in the SPL.

A 1-0 home defeat to Hibernian last week kept Saints second bottom of the table, 15 points ahead of Dundee, who parted company with manager Barry Smith on Wednesday. The Paisley boss is looking for improvement when he takes his side to St Johnstone on Saturday.

"We have good quality and I certainly believe we failed to show those qualities last week," said Lennon. "If any of our players have a notion that they can dwindle by until the final - which I don't think is the case - then we certainly won't be at our best on cup final day. We are at our best when we are at it week-in, week-out.

"We have cup final places to play for but the standard of football last week was certainly not our best and not acceptable for important games coming up.

"The players know that and will look to rectify it on Saturday. We have a very important game on March 17 but where our bread and butter is and where primarily you are judged upon, is our league position.

"Generally the level of performances since November have been excellent. We have bad days but to get nine or 10 players under-performing is very unusual.

"But after a poor performance, we have always seemed to come back with a positive performance or a result and that is certainly our aim.

"We have a chance of breaking into the top six in the next seven games and we are looking, like many teams, to put a good run together.

"St Johnstone struggled early in the season but managed to go on a fantastic run of five straight wins and have stayed in the top half of the table since. If we managed to put that run like that together that would guarantee a top-six finish."

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