sport

Lennon ready for tough test

St Mirren boss Danny Lennon will bid to utilise his players' adaptability as they bid to prevent Ross County embarking on another unbeaten run.

County's 40-match undefeated league stretch came to an end with a 2-1 defeat by St Johnstone last Saturday and manager Derek Adams has signalled they will go back to being hard to beat after losing a late goal as they chased three points.

But Lennon's side showed they had the scope to break down stubborn opponents when Lee Mair's last-minute goal gave them a 1-0 win over Hamilton in the Scottish Communities League Cup on Tuesday.

Added to that, St Mirren beat County 2-1 in Dingwall in the Scottish Cup in the midst of their 13-month league run.

Lennon said: "I have to give Derek and his staff great credit for their phenomenal run of 40 games unbeaten stretching over the two hardest leagues in Scotland.

"It's a fantastic achievement and Derek thoroughly deserved the manager of the month.

"Their run has come to an end and we must be ready for whatever reaction Ross County give us.

"We certainly know from the cup tie last season, when they held us to a replay , they are a very difficult team.

"We certainly know the challenge that lies ahead. We got a wee taste of it the other night against Hamilton, a very difficult team to break down, and Ross County set themselves up in a similar manner

"We tried a few things the other night, some things we liked, some things we didn't like."

Lennon showed he was willing to mix up his tactics after moving from a 3-5-2 formation to a 4-4-2 and bringing on Steven Thompson for Lewis Guy to form a physically imposing strike partnership with Sam Parkin.

The passing game was temporarily mixed with a more direct style and Lennon may need to think on his feet on Saturday against a County side that lost one goal in their first six SPL games.

"That's the advantage of having good quality in the squad in that we are able to adapt to given situations," he said.

"It's not the way we want to play but we have to adapt to what's thrown upon us and I was delighted in the lads' mentality to do that as well as keep a very, very disciplined mechanical defence strategy. I felt we minimised the counter-attacks in the second half especially."

Lennon produced a memorable post-match summation of the Hamilton win on Tuesday, comparing his team's performance to slowly chopping down an old oak tree and felling it with the final swipe.

And he waited patiently to deliver a follow-up line at the end of his pre-match interview.

"I've actually got a trialist in," Lennon said. "He's hard to break down, a shining example to the youngsters and he's got a cutting edge about him. A striker. His name is Tommy Hawk."