St Johnstone will “fight like hell” to salvage a bit of end of year Premiership pride against Celtic, according to goalkeeper Elliott Parish.
And he has called on the 500 Perth fans who will be in McDiarmid Park on Boxing day for the final game before the mid-season break to stand by their struggling side.
Zander Clark’s deputy knows rock bottom Saints are in a deep hole.
But it’s not so deep that they can’t get out of it with a lot of collective spadework.
“Ross County was a real sickener,” said Parish. “But I tell you what, we’ll be going really hard at it on Sunday.
“Let’s get our teeth right into it.
“We are going to fight like hell.
“And we need those 500 fans behind us.
“I could hear them do that against Ross County, especially in the second half.
“As a club – players, staff and fans – let’s all pull together now and have a magic second half of the season.
“It needs to be everyone. They need us and we need them. It’s as simple as that.”
Confidence on the floor
Seven defeats in a row have dragged confidence levels in the Saints squad as low as their league position.
It might feel at the moment as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel but that mindset can’t be allowed to take hold.
“I’ve obviously been watching for the season,” said Parish, who replaced the sidelined Clark for his first league start of the season and will play again on Sunday.
“Confidence has gone and when you’re on a run like this there’s no secret to getting it back.
“It’s a cliché but all you can do is work, work and work and fight for that result.
“Then when it comes you have to use it to go and get more.
“We’ve somehow got to take something from Sunday – St Mirren got a good result against Celtic, which shows it can be done – then use the winter break and have a massive second half of the year.
“Since I’ve been here (and before that) this club has had strong second halves of the season.
“We’ve got to put another one together in a big way.
“Every single player in the dressing room is looking at himself.
“It’s a very honest bunch.”
Parish added: “I’ve seen this situation before at other clubs over the course of my career.
“At the moment we’re not scoring enough goals and we’re giving up too many chances.
“There’s no secret.
“Once we’re in an opportunity to draw or win a game we have to take it.
“But my god we’ll be using our opportunity on Sunday. That’s how we have to approach it.”
Ross County inflicted a 7⃣th consecutive defeat on Covid-affected St Johnstone.
Highlights 👇 pic.twitter.com/9bfCBYqLzu
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) December 23, 2021
There might not be many Saints players who can be satisified with their form in the first half of the season but the man in front of Parish is definitely one of them.
“I think everybody would agree Zander’s been our best player,” said the former Dundee goalie.
“He’s been sensational this season.
“All I could do was train well.
“I’ve got a great coach in Paul Mathers who keeps me right and keeps me honest.
“I’m in the team now and I’ve got to produce a performance that helps us get the result we need on Sunday.
“I’m relishing any game just now – whether it’s Celtic or Arbroath in the cup, which was my last game.
“I love being out there but I’ve got a very good goalkeeper in front of me.
“This is a little opportunity, I guess.”