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St Johnstone wont take Forfar for granted, says Richard Foster

Richard Foster celebrates with Stefan Scougall.
Richard Foster celebrates with Stefan Scougall.

A Stefan Scougall winner dispatched Falkirk and, allied to a third successive clean sheet, edged St Johnstone closer to the next stage of the Betfred Cup.

But defender and goal creator Richard Foster has warned Jim Weir’s Forfar Athletic will be no pushovers on their artificial surface this weekend.

Foster admits he’s a fan of the League Cup format, even if the group stage presents lesser lights with an opportunity to produce upsets.

“The way the competition is structured is great for the teams from the lower divisions,” he said.

“It’s relatively early on for all of us. You are still finding your feet and getting your sharpness.

“It allows for cup upsets and banana skins. It makes the tournament more of a spectacle.

“It gives everyone a chance and none of the games are easy. We were away to Montrose and it was a tough game. It will be the same at Forfar.

“It’s an astro pitch which is likely to be dry and sticky, which slows the game down.

“We struggled a bit at Montrose on that sort of surface. We couldn’t pass the ball about like we did against Falkirk.

“It is a bit of a leveller and they will be right up for it. So we are expecting another tough game.”

Foster admits the slim but comfortable victory over the Bairns – hard on the heels of a win at Montrose and a penalty shoot-out bonus point against East Fife – was vital to their plans to progress in the competition.

“The win puts us in pole position. With all respect to the other teams we knew this would be the hardest game in the group,” he said.

“Falkirk had a sticky start but they are a Championship team with a lot of technically good players.

“But I felt we controlled the game, passed and kept the ball well. A couple of loose passes in the second half maybe gave them a wee opening but that is three successive clean sheets.

“Over the years St Johnstone have been based around defending well and not giving much away.

“Zander Clark made a save right at the end but he was largely untested.

“While it is 1-0 you’re always nervous in case they nick a goal. But over the piece we managed the game pretty well. We just aren’t putting games to bed yet in the way we would like.”

Foster was impressed with former Sheffield United player Scougall, who struck home a stylish 31st  winner, producing the sort of finish being demanded by manager Tommy Wright from his midfielders.

“We know Stef has that ability and he is very good in that number 10 role,” said Foster.

“It gets him closer to the goal and most centre backs wouldn’t want to face him one on one.

“His movement is clever and thankfully I managed to find him with a pass and it was a great finish.

“Stef has that in his locker. He is very sharp and lively. The important thing is to get him up nearer the goal.

“Sometimes I think it can be harder for him if he is playing wider, although so far this season we have kept the ball better which allows us to get up the pitch as a team. That should help midfielders get into the box.”

Manager Tommy Wright revealed that Scougall, who was substituted in the closing stages, and fellow midfielder Murray Davidson, had felt unwell and were sent home immediately after the match.

“I’m delighted with how we are playing but we have to create more openings from the possession we are having,” he said. “We are trying to play a little bit more from the back when we can.”

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