St Johnstone manager McInnes hopes for Millar recovery

St Johnstone manager Derek McInnes
McInnes hopes his squad will be fresh going into Saturday's semi-final

St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes hopes to have Chris Millar fit for Saturday's Scottish Cup semi-final, despite the midfielder coming off against Celtic.

Millar went off with a groin strain after Saints had used all three substitutes in the 1-0 defeat to Celtic and may be a doubt to face Motherwell.

"Fingers crossed, he'll be okay," McInnes told BBC Scotland.

"He's a quick healer ordinarily. Hopefully, he'll be okay because he's an important player for me."

McInnes rested some players against Celtic, but the McDiarmid Park manager feels his players still competed well.

"It would've been easy for us, with the game on Saturday, to not treat it properly and to try and see it as an inconvenience, as it was when the fixture came out," said McInnes of the 1800 BST kick-off in Perth.

"But I thought it was a committed performance. We never let up. We stopped Celtic enjoying the game. We were always in the game right to the 90th minute, even with 10 men.

"The main point was losing the goal 10 seconds before half-time, when Celtic hadn't really done a lot in terms of the creative side.

"Not too many who will play on Saturday had to play the 90 minutes and, for me, that will hopefully get the freshness.

"If we win on Saturday, it's all been worthwhile. We're not going to get relegated, we can't make top six. Saturday is the bigger game for us."

With Celtic pressing for a late second, St Johnstone defender Michael Duberry went to ground under the challenge of Celtic's Georgios Samaras and appeared to stop the ball with his hand even though the referee had not blown for a foul.

And, despite the Celtic players' claims for a penalty, play continued.

"I was waiting for the referee to blow, I thought it was a free-kick by Samaras on Duberry," added McInnes. "Duberry thought that as well.

"It was a bit bizarre. He certainly handled it after it, waiting for the foul, he put his hand on the ball. But then I think he put his other hand on the ball possibly as well.

"It looked like a free-kick for us. I thought Samaras had pushed him or nudged him over. It was quite strange."