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Jim Goodwin sympathetic towards coronavirus-hit St Johnstone

Jim Goodwin sympathetic towards coronavirus-hit St Johnstone
© Reuters
Callum Davidson has lost four players for this weekend's Scottish Cup semi-final due to the virus.

St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin is both empathetic and sympathetic towards St Johnstone's Covid-19 troubles ahead of their Scottish Cup semi-final clash on Sunday.

Two McDiarmid Park players tested positive for the virus and another two have been ruled as close contacts ahead of the Hampden encounter, leaving boss Callum Davidson without four players for the trip to Glasgow.

The Buddies had their own coronavirus issues earlier in the season.

Goodwin recalled the emergency signing of Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal for a Premiership clash against Hibernian after three of his goalkeepers were forced to quarantine.

Goodwin said: "I sympathize with Callum Davidson and the players involved.

"First and foremost, it is about the health and well-being of the players and their families, of course, and football almost takes a back seat in times like this.

"Nobody needs to tell us about the difficulties of dealing with Covid.

"We have had numerous occasions during the course of the season when we have been affected directly or indirectly.

"I can think back to the Hibs game back in September where three hours before kick-off we didn't know if we had a goalkeeper so it isn't ideal.

"I am sure it has had a negative impact on St Johnstone's preparations but at the same time I would imagine Callum would be using it as motivation for his group as well, to go and do it for the four players that will be missing.

"Obviously it is difficult for them and everyone at the club wishes them well but we just need to focus on our own end and make sure that we have everything right at our end."

Goodwin insists that regardless of personnel, there will be a familiarity about the Betfred Cup winners.

The former St Mirren captain said: "I am not going to name names but the rumours of the players who are missing, they have got good replacements in those areas.

"So I don't think Callum will be overly concerned about it.

"It doesn't matter what starting 11 they go with, St Johnstone have a real identity, they play 3-5-2 and the way they play won't change.

"They are quite a direct team in terms of diagonal balls up to the strikers, they compete really well in the middle of the park for second balls and I think they are up there in the top two or three teams in the league for the number of crosses they put into the box.

"We know we will have to defend our box a lot on Sunday because that's the way St Johnstone play.

"So it doesn't really matter what names are on the team sheet, we expect St Johnstone to have a similar style of football."

The Irishman revealed a selection dilemma as five players returned to the squad including Marcus Fraser, who signed a new two-year deal on Friday.

Ryan Flynn (hamstring), Jonathan Obika (groin), Eamonn Brophy (foot) and Dylan Connolly (shoulder) are also back in contention.

Goodwin said: "Obviously some of them have been out for a month, some have been out for four months so I need I make sensible choices about team selection.

"It would be great to throw one or two in from the start but the last thing you want is them to go off after half an hour. I need to manage it appropriately."

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