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RAB DOUGLAS: Why I expect St Johnstone to beat Inverness Caley Thistle and Kevin Thomson ticks a lot of boxes for Dundee job

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson watching the first leg of the play-off semi-final.
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson watching the first leg of the play-off semi-final.

I think Arbroath captured the nation’s hearts with the journey we went on this season.

For the wee part-time team to finish second in the Championship was an incredible story.

Unfortunately it had a painful ending, with the late defeat at Kilmarnock and then the penalty loss against Inverness in the play-offs a few nights ago.

On reflection, we didn’t do enough to work their goalie after Caley Thistle went down to 10 men.

And once you get to penalties, it’s a 50/50 chance for both sides.

The foundations at Gayfield are strong, though.

The way the local community has got behind the club has been incredible and we’ll have far more people inside the ground at the start of next season than 12 months earlier.

You can be sure that the manager will be looking to strengthen our squad in the summer.

It’s too early to set targets but we’ll be ready for the battle to stay in the league again next year and to see where that takes us.

Unfortunately it isn’t Arbroath preparing for the play-off final against St Johnstone.

Inverness have got enough quality in their side to win if Saints aren’t at their best, that’s for sure.

They’ve got goal threats from a few different areas, with Logan Chalmers and Billy McKay both capable of coming up with a moment of magic to change a game.

And they are quick on the counter-attack.

Saints will need to guard against that when they’re pushing up.

In a one-off game, I’d give them a great chance.

But the format should suit Saints better.

And, perhaps like us on Friday night, I suspect this will be a step too far for Inverness.

With injuries and suspensions kicking in, their squad depth will really be tested.

One man we do know who won’t be playing is Shane Sutherland.

He’ll be a big loss.

Callum Davidson will have his team well prepared and if they turn up over the two legs, I’m backing them to keep their place in the top flight.

There’s not much more to be said about Dundee’s season that hasn’t already been covered.

The decision to sack James McPake when they did proved to be a bad one and the Mark McGhee appointment hasn’t paid off.

So often the timing of managerial changes has been all wrong at Dens but at least that won’t be a problem this time.

Dundee appointments have been notoriously hard to predict over the years so I don’t have a clue who they’ll pick this time.

Whoever gets the job needs to have experience.

If St Johnstone stay up, Dundee will be strong favourites to win the title and a sensible choice will strengthen that case.

You could certainly make an argument to bring Paul Hartley back given his connections to Gordon Strachan and the job he’s done at Cove.

But I don’t think he’d leave.

I can definitely see Kevin Thomson getting it.

One season with Kelty is enough to take him out of the ‘rookie’ category.

A knowledge of Dundee from his playing days, without him having the burden of being a club legend, is also a good thing.

And the fact he’s worked with Strachan is another box ticked.

I think that would be an appointment most Dundee fans would get behind.

St Johnstone stars’ play-off pedigree revealed: From Michael O’Halloran’s Wembley drama to Shaun Rooney v Callum Booth

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