KENNY McLEAN is determined to come out on top in tonight's battle of the boiler room with Motherwell skipper Keith Lasley.
The St Mirren midfield starlet has huge respect for Las and admitted his delight after hearing that the Well skipper had singled him out for special words of praise ahead of tonight's SPL clash in Paisley.
But McLean knows that the best way to prove Lasley's glowing assessment of his skills is correct is to become the architect of Well's downfall.
With this evening's encounter representing the start of the frantic four-games-in-12-days festive card, McLean has no doubt about the importance of making the most of home comforts.
The Buddies ace said: "It means a lot to hear that a respected senior pro like Keith Lasley has said some kind words about me.
"When you look at his career and his consistency at the top level, when a guy like that says something good about you, it really hits the mark.
"Even before Keith was given the skipper's armband at Motherwell he was always among their most influential players. He never wastes a ball, is always available and talking to his team-mates and he is exactly the type of role model any young midfielder would do well to aspire to.
"But I guess from my point of view the best way to prove him right is to make sure I have the best game I can tonight and hopefully help St Mirren get the win.
"Every time we have played Motherwell over the last two seasons or so it has been a cracking game of football between two sides who want to get the ball down and play.
"I don't see it being any different tonight, but we just have to make sure we come out on top."
Saints came in for some negative comments after last weekend's fruitless 2-0 away defeat to Celtic.
At home McLean has vowed that the Buddies will return to their usual total-football philosophy.
He said: "It was a more defensive approach from us at Parkhead and if we had nicked a point then no one would have had anything bad to say about how we set up.
"But now we have a home game and with them coming thick and fast it is vital that we use this one to give ourselves a launchpad into the festive card.
"With 12 points available over the next 12 days this part of the season can have a huge impact on how things pan out. So if we can get a positive result tonight to springboard into that sequence it will be vital."
"The great thing about playing Motherwell from our point of view is that it is always an open game.
"So I think there will be opportunities for both sides tonight and hopefully we can take ours and come out on top."