Match Preview: St Mirren v Spartans

St Mirren will make their first home appearance of the season this evening when Spartans come to town in the Betfred Cup.

It will be the first chance most fans will get to see the new Buddies boss, Alan Stubbs, and his revamped Saints side at the newly named Simple Digital Arena.

Stubbs' team kicked off the season last Friday night away to Kilmarnock in the first tie of the Betfred Cup group stage. The game finished goalless at Rugby Park which, as are the rules of the competition, resulted in a penalty shootout between the two teams.

Saints had started the game very brightly, with starting debut's for Paul McGinn, Cole Kpekawa and Hayden Coulson. Danny Mullen was close to putting the away side ahead, but just couldn't get his toe onto the end of Ryan Flynn's cross into the box. Other first half chances fell to Cammy Smith and Jordan Kirkpatrick, with the former striking the crossbar from 10 yards out. Kilmarnock could have also taken the lead though, after Jordan Jones capitalised on a Jack Baird mistake to tee up Lee Erwin - but was was denied by Saints stopper Samson.

The best chance of the second half fell to Jack Baird, when Killie failed to clear their lines at a corner, the ball landed at the feet of the young centre back with the goal wide open - but he couldn't turn it homeward and the ball ended up in the stand behind the goal. We also saw the introduction of Jim Kellermann, Jeff King and Cody Cooke for their debuts.

The game ended 0-0 so went to spot kicks to determine who gathered the extra point. Paul McGinn, Hayden Coulson and Danny Mullen managed to convert their penalties, and with the heroics of St Mirren legend Craig Samson, the Paisley side where the ones who took away the extra point, finishing 3-2 on penalties.   

Spartans' first game of the Betfred Cup came against Dumbarton on Saturday, with the game also ending 0-0 and being decided by penalties. The Sons managed to edge the shootout though, winning 4-3 after the full time whistle.

Spartans were close to promotion into the Scottish Professional Football League, after they won the Scottish Lowland League last term, but fell at the play-off stage when they were knocked out by Cove Rangers.

The last time the two sides met was back in November of 2016 in the Scottish Cup third round at The Simple Digital Arena. It was a resounding win for the home side that day though and ran out 5-1 winners, with goals from Lawrence Shankland, Stevie Mallan, John Sutton and a sensational individual goal from youngster Kyle McAllister which ended up winning goal of the round. 

Tonight could see debut's for on-loan Dons keeper Danny Rogers and former Darlington FC defender Josh Heaton, should Alan Stubbs choose to select the pair. Kyle Magennis remains a doubt after he missed Friday night's game through injury, as well as Jordan Kirkpatrick who came off with a knock.