Alexander impressed by ‘typical’ St Johnstone European performance

The Motherwell boss says Sunday's opponents have proven to be a formidable side.

Alexander impressed by ‘typical’ St Johnstone European performance SNS Group

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander described St Johnstone’s Istanbul heroics as a “typical performance” from the Perth side.

The double cup winners continued their extraordinary 2021 by holding Galatasaray to a 1-1 draw in their first leg of their Europa League clash on Thursday.

Alexander’s Motherwell team were on the end of a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at Fir Park when they last faced the Perth side.

So he knows they are in for a tough test when they travel to McDiarmid Park on Sunday to take on a Saints side managed by his former Scotland and Preston team-mate and close friend, Callum Davidson.

On Thursday’s European tie, Alexander said: “I watched the majority of it and I think St Johnstone put in a typical St Johnstone performance.

“They are extremely hard to break down, they carried their threats at important times. It was a fantastic result for them.

“St Johnstone have proved over the last 12 months what a good team they are so we will be expecting a tough game, as we always do. We are in the Premiership, there are no easy games. But we expect to give them a tough game as well.”

Alexander is happy for his players to aspire to similar European nights but he is just keen that they get their cinch Premiership campaign up and running after a narrow opening defeat against Hibernian.

“That sort of platform that St Johnstone were playing on is amazing,” he said.

“Galatasaray are a massive club in European football, great history, and you are going toe to toe away from home.

“It’s the whole build-up to those games, the different experiences you get from those type of games, the players that played in that will be enriched by that experience.

“But you have to earn that experience by doing a lot of good things over the course of a year to qualify.

“We have seen Scottish clubs compete really well in the early stages of Europe, certainly this week, and it’s encouraging for Scottish football.

“We want to be part of that scene but you have to earn it over a course of a season. It’s early days for that but the club has a history, it started in Europe this time last season.

“So it’s certainly something that’s achievable but it’s not on our radar right now. It’s winning on Sunday that’s our focus.”

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