Boss happy after friendly opener

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Arbroath 0, St Johnstone 2

DESPITE suffering defeat from SPL opposition in their opening pre-season friendly Arbroath manager Paul Sheerin said he couldn’t have asked for more from his players.

The Lichties, who were fielding several new faces, conceded two second half goals from St Johnstone, the manager’s former club.

And even though his team didn’t manage to get their warm-up programme off to a winning start, at full-time Mr Sheerin was still upbeat.

He said: “I couldn’t ask for much more from the players tonight as they have come back really fit which is a credit to themselves.

“I am absolutely delighted with their fitness levels as we looked good and had a couple of half chances early on.

“But I’m not going to get carried away as it is still early days.”

As well as fielding some of the key men from last season’s championship winning team, new signings Marc Baxter, Beau Busch, Brian Kerr and Jordan Elfverson featured.

Former Clyde midfielder Kevin Finlayson was also given a game and trialists Lee Bryce who is ex East Fife and Englishman Joe Prince-Wright came off the bench.

And the boss added he was happy to have retained the nucleus of the squad from the last campaign along with signing some additional faces.

He explained: “We try to be forward thinking and it has been great to get the likes of Swanks and Josh back on board.

“The boys that have come in have done well and Brian Kerr has been a big signing for us as he has great experience.

“We are probably still needing a couple more but it’s credit to the board who have given us all their backing.”

Neither side started the game well and it took a while before both sides began to create chances.

But it was the home side who had the first real opportunity to go a goal up.

Gavin Swankie picked the ball up just inside the Saints half and took it on a run but his eventual strike was saved by visiting ‘keeper Peter Enckleman.

Minutes later Saints went close when Kevin Moon unleashed a powerful effort but his shot rattled the underside of the crossbar.

But it was Arbroath who had the final chance before the interval when a clearance from Beau Busch fell to Swankie who played in Steven Doris.

However, yet again Enckleman was on hand to keep out the low range effort from Doris.

Half-time: Arbroath 0, St Johnstone 0.

Both sides made changes after the interval, and it seemed to pay off for Saints who broke the deadlock almost straight from the re-start.

LIAM CRAIG latched on to a Stevie May pass and struck the ball straight past Darren Hill.

The boss and Kieran McAnespie had chances in the later stages to pull the score back level but with only minutes remaining, the visitors doubled their lead.

MOON connected with a Paul Caddis cross to bundle the ball home from close range.

Saints boss Derek McInnes was happy his side notched up their first pre-season win but also paid tribute to the Lichties.

He said: “Credit to Arbroath because they were competitive and are a decent side.”

Teams:

Arbroath: Hill, Baxter (Prince-Wright 46), McAnespie, Falkingham (Sibanda 76), Malcolm (Wedderburn 65), Busch, Finlayson, Kerr (Gibson 46), Doris (Bryce 53), Swankie (Elfverson 65) and Sheerin.

St Johnstone: Enckleman, MacKay (Caddis 77), C. Davidson (Maybury 67), McCracken, Wright, Trialist (May 46), Millar (M. Davidson 67), Moon, Craig, Trialist (Trialist 67), Finnigan (Higgins 46). Not used: Clark, Rodgers, Moffat, Reynolds and McIntosh.