Date: 23rd February 2011 at 1:07am
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Peter Houston said the state of the McDiarmid Park pitch did little to improve the spectacle in the 0-0 draw with St Johnstone.

Both sides struggled on the heavily-sanded surface and couldn’t really engage their preferred passing approach to the game.

“It’s not conducive to playing good football,” Houston told BBC Scotland. “Both St Johnstone and ourselves like to play passes, but I told them not to, because if you play through the middle of the park you end up getting robbed. Both teams were putting balls out the park with nobody near them and that’s not for lack of skill.”

The visitors continue to be severely depleted in defence and handed a first start to recent signing Timothy van der Meulen, who drew praise and words of advice from his new boss.

“He is a 19-year-old boy and he has come from Ajax and has not played a lot of first-team football and Scottish football is different from Dutch football, where it is slow, slow and high tempo as it gets to the final third,” he added.

“Centre-forwards like Collin Samuel put him under pressure as soon as he got near the ball and he has to do things a wee bit quicker, but that will come.”

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