St Johnstone midfield ready for a tougher test against Hibs

Chris Millar celebrates one of Chris Kane's goals at Dens.

St Johnstone’s team triumph at Dens Park was also a triumph for a midfield four that has got plenty of collective years on the clock.

The Perth quartet of Chris Millar, Murray Davidson, Liam Craig and Blair Alston gave their youthful Dundee opponents a lesson on how to establish control and never let it go.

One of those at his dominant best, Millar, knows that getting the better of their opposite numbers in the Hibs team on Friday night will be a much harder proposition.

With John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch earning Scotland call-ups on the back of consistent performances for Neil Lennon, and Scott Allan back to his match-winning best, Millar and his Saints team-mates are about to come up against arguably the best central midfield combination in the country.

And it’s a challenge they are looking forward to.

“Hibs are on a high,” said Millar. “Neil Lennon’s done a really good job and he’s got a strong midfield.

“We watched the Friday night game (against Hearts) in our hotel and I was very impressed with them.

“I know John McGinn gets a lot of praise, and rightly so. But for me, Dylan McGeouch controls the game and very rarely gives the ball away. He’s a very good player.

“The pair of them will get votes for player of the year awards, that’s for sure.

“They’ll be hard to play against but we want the win to help us get safe as soon as possible.

“Then, who knows what will happen after that.”

The 4-0 derby win will take some topping for Saints as pretty much every box was ticked for a team seeking to detach itself from the relegation battle.

“We couldn’t have asked for any better,” Millar acknowledged. “From the first minute to the last we played with a really high intensity and the result speaks for itself.

“Obviously Dundee won’t be happy with the way they lost their goals but from our point of view we were delighted.

“It was a pressure game and we needed the result.

“The gaffer went back to basics and a bit of experience sometimes is needed. That was the case on Saturday.

“Liam, Ando and Macca all came back in and obviously it worked.

“We had been questioned as a team. Every game you should go out there with something to prove.

“You have to have fire in your belly.

“This Saturday showed that we’ve got some good players. It doesn’t matter what age you are – young or old.”

The season may be much nearer its end than its beginning but with the victory at Dens, and another timely three points against a bottom six side in Ross County a couple of weeks earlier, Saints have set a standard that they intend to meet in the run-in.

“It’s been a strange season,” said Millar. “We’ve had some very good results but not been consistent. Injuries haven’t helped but we know that it’s not been good enough in general.

“Now we want to win as many of the last four games before the split as possible and see where that takes us.

“It’s not rocket science. Play off a good shape, be organised, encourage each other at the right times but when something needs to be said, say it.

“Maybe that’s been lacking in a few games.

“The more experienced ones maybe talk a bit more during games and against Kilmarnock we didn’t have that vocal element.

“It’s up to us to bring that out of some of the other ones.”

He added: “We want to finish as high as possible.

“And there are boys out of contract. Everybody knows what’s at stake.

“If you’re doing well it makes it easier to get signed up again. If you’re not, the gaffer might make changes.”