Levein challenges St Johnstone to take control of their survival fight

St Johnstone face Ross County in a huge match on Wednesday.

Craig Levein challenges St Johnstone to take control of their survival fight SNS Group

Craig Levein has challenged St Johnstone to leapfrog relegation rivals Ross County and ensure they still have their fate in their own hands going into their final match of the season at Motherwell.

Saints are currently in the relegation play-off spot, two points behind a Staggies side they host on Wednesday evening in their penultimate cinch Premiership match.

While a draw would keep alive the Perth side’s hopes of getting out of the bottom two, a win would elevate them above County and put them firmly in the driving seat to secure their survival and spare them the pressure of an end-of-term play-off against Partick Thistle or Raith Rovers.

That scenario would also mean Saints would not be reliant on a favour from Aberdeen, who visit County on Sunday.

“It’s still in our own hands,” stressed manager Levein. “Would we like to have been out of this position by now? Absolutely, of course we would.

“But we are where we are. We’ve got two games left and this one, because it’s against our nearest rivals, is hugely important.

“Our intention is to get three points. It’s a game we need to go and try and win to put us in front of Ross County. Then it becomes about what we do in the last game of the season.”

Although Saints go into the match on the back of four consecutive defeats, Levein was keen to accentuate the positives.

“This isn’t an automatic relegation position we’re talking about,” he said. “It’s a position where we’d go into a play-off, which then would become the biggest game. So I’m looking at this in a fairly positive manner.

“We’ve obviously had the disappointment of a defeat at Livingston but it was perhaps our best performance of the season to date, which in some ways is encouraging.

“We had 25 shots at goal at the weekend, which is by far the most we’ve had this season, the players have been good in training this week, and I’m hoping they can take that form into this match.”

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