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Preview: Dundee United vs. St Johnstone - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Scottish Premiership game between Dundee United and St Johnstone, including team news and predicted lineups.

Dundee United and St Johnstone get their Scottish Premiership campaign underway with a fixture at Tannadice on Saturday afternoon.

The home side are back in the top flight after winning the Championship, while St Johnstone are looking to build on ending the shortened campaign in sixth place.

Match preview

Callum Davidson pictured in 2018© Reuters

Having spent the last seven years on the backroom staff of various teams, Callum Davidson has been provided with an opportunity in the senior role at St Johnstone, replacing Tommy Wright.

While the former left-back is entering new territory, he is no stranger to the Saints having previously represented the club during his playing days and the early stages after retirement.

Tasked with trying to build on St Johnstone's sixth-placed finish last season, the Scot has seen more players leave McDiarmid Park than come through the arrival doors.

Nevertheless, having already made use of his link to Millwall with the acquisitions of Danny McNamara and Isaac Olaofe, Davidson will feel optimistic about making a positive start at the weekend.

From Dundee United's perspective, they will want to take advantage of easing to last season's second-tier title, holding a 14-point lead when the division was ended with 28 games having been played.

While some teams will count themselves fortunate to have earned promotions from various leagues, that is not the case with the Terrors, despite the legal battles which have been ongoing in recent months.

After an excellent spell with Tranmere Rovers, Micky Mellon has been hired as manager, and it is an appointment which has generally gone down well with the fans.

The same can be said of the recent addition of Manchester City loanee Luke Bolton, who made 24 appearances in the Championship for Luton Town last season.

Dundee United form: LDWD

St Johnstone form: DW

Team News

Tranmere Rovers manager Micky Mellon celebrates after the match on January 23, 2020© Reuters

With Bolton having played just once for Luton during the run-in, Mellon may feel that the right-sided player is fully rested.

However, having only arrived earlier this week, the 20-year-old could have to make do with a place among the replacements.

Despite missing United's most recent friendly, Mark Reynolds is expected to be ready to feature in the middle of the backline.

Millwall duo McNamara and Olaofe are likely to be on the substitutes' bench at best for the opening game of St Johnstone's season.

Davidson could stick with the back three which started the 2-1 win over Aberdeen in their most recent friendly fixture.

Dundee United possible starting lineup:
Siegrist; L.Smith, Reynolds, Connolly, Robson; Butcher, Harkes; Mochrie, C.Smith, Pawlett; Shankland

St Johnstone possible starting lineup:
Clark; Gordon, Kerr, McCart; Rooney, Wotherspoon, McCann, Craig, Tanser; Hendry, May

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We say: Dundee United 1-1 St Johnstone

Given the long wait for a return to competitive action, we can only predict a low-scoring draw. Wary of beginning the season with a defeat in what will be regarded as a favourable opener, both teams may be prepared to settle for that result.

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Tranmere Rovers manager Micky Mellon celebrates after the match on January 23, 2020
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