St Johnstone v Trakai by Luke
St Johnstone actually had a pretty decent previous season, as the team ended at fourth position in Premiership, having twelve points more than fifth placed Hearts and having nine less than Scottish giants of Glasgow Rangers. They have ended the season with two narrow home victories against Partick and Hearts both 1:0, before losing to Glasgow Rangers 1:2 in the last round of Scottish Premier League.
They had one more important friendly match before the start of the European campaign, as the team won over Welsh side Connahs Qey 2:0 last Saturday evening thanks to goals from Alston in 46th and Cummins in 75th minute. Their team captain Steven Anderson and fellow defender Keith Watson are missing for this one. Midfielders Stefan Scougall and Kyle McClean are set to make debuts. Left back Scott Tanser should be registered in time for this one.
One of the positive sides for this clash for Trakai is the fact that they are in the full swing of their season, as the Lithuanian side already played three competitive matches during this month. After sixteen rounds played in the new Lithuanian championship, Trakai stands at second position with seven victories, seven draws and two defeats, having ten points less than leaders from Zalgiris.
As for the previous season, they ended also at the second position with nine points less than Zalgiris, while the side also lost the Super Cup competition against Zalgiris earlier this year with a narrow 1:0 result (thanks to second placed position in League competition, while they were excluded in 1/8 finals of the domestic Cup). Currently they are undefeated in last eight competitive matches, six in league and two in Cup), coming from a 3:0 home victory over Utenis last Wednesday evening. The side is having terrible 0-7-1 record away from home and they know that their realistic chance here lies with the home game and they need to avoid heavy defeat in Scotland now.
St Johnstone knows that they need to give a really good fight in front of own fans to get a convincing result ahead of the second leg in Lithuania. Season is still early for them, however I strongly believe that the Scottish side has what it takes to get a victory which would bring them much closer to the second qualifying round. Overall, I see the match being very open and the visiting side being threatening as well, since this match comes too early in the season for hosts.