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RAB DOUGLAS: Relegation realities are suffocating for Dundee and St Johnstone

The St Johnstone v Dundee game was no thriller.
Dundee v St Johnstone this weekend is the biggest match of the season for both clubs.

The 0-0 draw between St Johnstone and Dundee laid bare the brutal reality of the predicament the two Tayside clubs find themselves in.

When you’re involved in a relegation battle, the last thing fans can expect to see is free-flowing football.

And, to no great surprise, they didn’t get it at McDiarmid Park the other night.

First of all, the two clubs are bottom and second bottom – cut adrift from the pack – for a reason.

To suddenly expect a dramatic improvement, even though they were playing each other, isn’t realistic.

Although both managers knew that a win could light a fire for them, they also knew that a defeat would be catastrophic.

Particularly for Saints.

So the longer the game went on, the more it would have been a case of ‘let’s make sure we don’t lose this’.

You can’t underestimate how suffocating it can feel for players and management when you’re in a relegation battle.

Nobody will speak about it – but the potential impact of going down is constantly hanging in the air.

No player or manager wants to be responsible for members of staff having to worry about their jobs.

Take all those factors into account, and throw a pitch that isn’t the greatest and a gale into the mix, and a scruffy 0-0 was always going to be the likeliest outcome.

I’m intrigued to see how the last few days of the window pan out for both clubs.

There is no good news when your new striker pulls up with a hamstring injury in his third game but at least it’s happened a few days before the window.

Callum Davidson and Steve Brown have time to react and change their priorities if it’s a long lay-off for Nadir Ciftci.

For Dundee it’s all a bit confused at the moment.

They really need to get the Leigh Griffiths situation sorted out soon.

It’s dragged out for far too long.

You would imagine that it’s having a knock-on effect on what James McPake can do.

Surely they will make a play for get Zak Rudden in early from Partick Thistle.

The longer it goes, the less likelier that is of happening, though.

Partick will need to get someone lined up to replace him because they’re right in the mix for promotion.

My guess would be around £50,000 could do it.

In the circumstances, that’s well worth paying if he proves to be the difference between staying up and going down.


I know that there’s no point in me saying that Arbroath want to stay under the radar.

There’s no hiding when you’re sat at the top of a league and we’re about to go into February.

But just because we’re way above where anybody, ourselves included, could have expected us to be doesn’t mean attitudes in the camp will change.

We’ll keep going about things the same way and we know that Kilmarnock, who are throwing money at it, are the strong favourites for the title.

The lads were magnificent away to Raith and they were professional again against Darvel in the Scottish Cup.

That was the first of five home games in a row for us.

Whatever the league, you’re always going to look on that as something to relish.

Callum Davidson reveals fears for Nadir Cifti after St Johnstone striker’s injury against Dundee

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