WHATEVER Danny Lennon might have uttered last weekend, he chose his words more carefully yesterday.
The St Mirren manager has elected not to dispute the notice of complaint he received following an altercation with Derek Adams on Saturday, when the pair took differing views of a robust challenge involving Jim Goodwin.
The midfielder had clashed heads with Ross County's Melvin De Leeuw and Adams walked on to the pitch to remonstrate. Lennon would take a step too far as well, reacting by using the sort of language which can turn ordinary newsprint blue.
Both managers were sent to the stand and Lennon has used the time to think about what he did. He stepped in to defend Goodwin but has denied himself similar protection; the 44-year-old will instead await confirmation of his punishment from the Scottish Football Association. That is expected to come next week and after Lennon has sent his side out against Kilmarnock tomorrow.
"I'll go and take it like a man," said Lennon, whose side will be without Goodwin in Paisley due to suspension, while Gary Teale continues treatment for a bone infection. "What I did was wrong. It's a passionate game; myself and Derek exchanged words last week and I unreservedly apologise to Derek and his staff and my supporters for getting into bother with the officials and the SFA.
"I've the utmost respect for Derek Adams and for what he's achieved in football, although my action and my words didn't reflect that last weekend. As far as I'm concerned it's water under the bridge."
Allan Johnston, meanwhile, has the unusual luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from for tomorrow's match - apart from the long-term absence of Darren Barr - so the news of Goodwin's absence might be greeted with a sigh of relief from the Rugby Park physio team.
Goodwin has carved himself an infamous reputation of late, though rumours that St Mirren's human wrecking ball will be tied to a metal spike in Lennon's basement and teased with just-out-of-reach scraps of raw, bloody meat until their next match are apparently unfounded. But Johnston was less concerned about Goodwin's lack of tackling, ahem, subtlety yesterday, as with what influence the SPFL Premiership's great bald destroyer might have wielded in a broader sense.
"He is a major player, so that is a boost for us [that he is out]," agreed Johnston. "He's a big player for them. His influence will be missed, though they have a lot of good players who to come in and take his place. Djemba-Djemba is more of a passer, he's not got the same physical presence."
Craig Slater won the SPFL Premiership Young Player of the Month for January. The midfielder left Paisley two years ago, after asking for his contract to be terminated. Slater had been unhappy, but St Mirren's loss has been Kilmarnock's gain.
"I don't know what happened," admitted Johnston. "But for someone of his quality to end up at us . . . I'm sure he'll have a big point to prove this week. He's been fantastic.
"For a young player, he's shown great consistency. He seems to be getting better week in, week out."