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ERIC NICOLSON: There were shades of grey in St Johnstone’s stick or twist dilemma at Dens but against St Mirren it will be black and white

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson

For Dundee, it was easy.

The talk stayed the same post-match as it was in the build-up.

It’s not over until it’s over. We can catch them. We believe. While it’s still mathematically possible……

The dejection on the final whistle, the fact Mark McGhee left a spent Charlie Adam on the pitch in the hope he would defy fatigue to come up with a moment of magic, and the last hurrah-type effort put in by the Dark Blues to grab a winner told a different story, though.

They knew, in all probability, it was win or be relegated.

Zak Rudden was on the floor.
Zak Rudden was on the floor.

For St Johnstone, as Callum Davidson alluded to in his reflections after the match, it was much more complicated.

In fact, it was the ultimate stick or twist dilemma.

Saints’ dominance before and after Shaun Rooney’s equaliser gave weight to the twist argument.

And Davidson’s comments suggest he felt his team veered too far towards the stick end of the spectrum.

But given the repercussions of leaving themselves open and Dundee snatching the points, the players can’t be blamed for making the in-game judgment call that caution should not be abandoned.

St Johnstone’s Shaun Rooney (centre) scores to make it 1-1 at Dens Park.

Dundee momentum needed to be stopped

The priority on Saturday was keeping Dundee at a safe distance and, by doing so, denying them the opportunity to energise their survival bid.

Goodness knows what McGhee would have come up with after last week’s bizarre psychological soundbites but he’d have found something.

Coming from two goals back in a Dundee derby and then beating the team above you in front of a home crowd who were starting to believe for the first time in months would have created powerful momentum and taken Saints back into a dark place.

Now, there is no Dundee momentum.

And for Saints, the draw got them closer to St Mirren and Aberdeen, two sides whose form trajectory in recent weeks is far worse than their own and two sides with a fan-base that has turned on them.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson instructs his players during the draw with Dundee.

Kitchen sink time

In their next game, though, the stick or twist debate isn’t one that carries the Dens Park risk and reward subtleties.

If it’s all-square midway through the second half against St Mirren, it will be the time for Saints to throw the kitchen sink at it.

The odds on Dundee now winning three games are long enough to make the Perth team feel the safety net beneath them is secure.

And the implications of beating St Mirren are great enough to be described as season-changing and season-defining.

Against the team in black and white, we’ve reached the point where there will be no shades of grey.

St Johnstone can make giant leap to Premiership safety by beating St Mirren, says Melker Hallberg

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