Lee can limit the life of ReillyFriday, 15th Sep 2017
"I played against him when he was at Hearts. I know what to expect from him."
Lee Ashcroft is hoping to put last week`s disappointing result behind him by putting put on a fine performance in front of many St Mirren fans who know him as a friend. Coming from Barrhead, Lee might have allegiances towards his local team but it was at Kilmarnock that he developed his football skills.
Whoever wins will top the table after St Mirren took advantage of Dunfermline`s defeat. It was a sore one to take. The Pars weren`t up to their recent standard and the game turned on its head in the second half.
"In the first half we were comfortable although they actually started the game better but once Joe (Cardle) got the first goal and then Jason (Talbot) got a sore injury for the penalty, we were comfortable at 2-0 up.
"The gaffer had said to us at half time just to make sure that you keep it tight at the start of the second half because they are going to come out and give it their best shot.
"They got a goal in the 47th minute and that gave them momentum. If we had kept it tight for the first fifteen minutes then I think we would have been fine. It is just one of those things that happens and after losing that first goal we should have done a lot better than what we did. We should have shut up shop and try to catch them on the counterattack.
"They came back and got a result. It is one that we just have to put behind us and learn from it. If we are in that situation again we will hopefully handle it better.
"You cannot get a better game than this week`s to make up for it. If we beat them we go back on top and it is a big incentive to put last week behind us."
Lee is well aware that after a remarkable end to last season St Mirren have retained form for this one.
"They are doing well just now and they have a lot of positives. It should be a good game but if can play the way that we have been playing here then we should get the win."
The Pars home form has been strong all season with big wins in the Betfred Cup followed by home victories over teams that were expected to do well this season, Inverness Caley Thistle and Falkirk.
"In the cup it was against lower league opposition and no disrespect to them, every game here we have been dominant. We have gone on and won by a couple of goals or more. If we can keep that up at home then teams will start to fear coming here to play us. That is our aim and one to make up for last week.
"We have been used to winning since the start of the season and we want to get back to that feeling on a Saturday night knowing that we have won the game and the fans have gone home happy to be top of the league again."
Gavin Reilly was a team mate last season but on Saturday Lee will be out to keep the Saints forward at bay.
"We know what he is capable of and coming here no doubt he will work even harder than he has in the last games. Maybe he has a point to prove. It is going to be a busy, hard game for me or whoever is playing. It is one to look forward to."
After amassing a tally of only two last season, the 24 year old has scored 8 goals in 11 appearances for the Buddies. Lee pointed out that Gavin found it hard to get into the team after an absence of two months through injury coupled with a good unbeaten run last season when Nicky Clark and Michael Moffat clung on to the starting positions:-
"When he first came in he was playing regularly but he picked up a knock. When he got back fit we were on a good run at that point. It just wasn`t the best of seasons for him. He has gone to St Mirren and he is their main man up front now. He will be happy with that. He will be looking to add to his tally against us.
"It will be a good game up against him. I know what he is capable of and I played against him when he was at Hearts. I know what to expect from him."
The memory of his opponent`s training ground moves and tricks gives the Pars central defender an advantage:-
"Every player has their strong points and every player has weaknesses but is good to know what he is good at. But at the same time he knows what we are strong at and maybe what we are weak at.
"You can be mates with somebody but when you are on the park for 90 minutes there are no pals in it. We need to get the job done against them, shake hands after the game and go on as pals from there."