Thursday Football Tips: Gamble on Gala to sink Saints

After a winning shots treble on Wednesday, Paul Higham is backing a Galatasaray response at St Johnstone in the Europa League.

St Johnstone v Galatasaray
Thursday 12 August 19:00 BST kick-off
Live on BBC Scotland

Can lightning strike twice? St Johnstone will hope so as they host Galatasaray with their Europa League qualification tie finely balanced after their remarkable 1-1 draw in Istanbul last week.

Gala dominated most of the first leg, but then had keeper Fernando Muslera sent off after giving away a penalty and needed to battle back with 10 men to draw.

It was still a slightly embarrassing result for the 22-time Turkish champions, who will want to react with a much more clinical performance in Perth.

Visiting coach Fatih Terim has seen most things during his 34 years in football management, but a packed-out McDiarmid Park will be a new experience. They’ll get a hot reception but it’s the colder temperature that most concerns Terim.

“The most important difference for us is the weather,” said Terim. “There is nearly 20 degrees of a difference between Istanbul and Perth. It was 37 degrees when we left Turkey and now it is very different here.”

So they’ll have the home crowd, their favoured conditions and recent memories of their incredible cup double from last season, but the Saints are still outsiders to grab the most famous result in their history.

At 3.185/40 to get through somehow, though, they’re a lot shorter then you’d have expected when the draw was made and too short for what would be a huge result.

So there’s some value in the 2.01/1 on Galatasaray to get the job done in 90 minutes here – they’ll also want to prove a point after their last European trip ended in a 5-1 defeat at PSV.

The goals situation is interesting as Saints don’t score a lot but Galatasaray have conceded in their last eight games all told. They did keep five clean sheets in their last nine away league games last season though.

The bookies can’t really decide if they think both teams will score here but they don’t think there’ll be many goals, with under 2.5 goals the 1.684/6 favourite of two.

Galatasaray should have more of the ball, and although Saints will again be a tough nut to crack, their own lack of goal threat could cost them in the end.