St Johnstone hero Steven MacLean is convinced his side can bounce back from their cup exit at the hands of Queen of the South, writes Jamie Hall.

The Scottish Cup holders crashed out on Palmerston’s plastic pitch with MacLean watching on from the stands.

The 32-year-old is banned from playing on astroturf after two knee operations in recent years, but is hungry to get back to winning ways when he returns to action this weekend.

Saints host league leaders Celtic on Saturday, and MacLean says his side can bounce back from their cup disappointment in style.

Despite their inconsistent form, the veteran striker insists Inverness defender Carl Tremarco was out of order to say his team-mates ‘chucked it’ in their recent defeat in the Highland capital.

He said: “One thing we do is always come out fighting after a bad result.

“After the Inverness game a few weeks ago a certain player had a go at us saying we’d chucked it.

“The next game we played very well against Aberdeen and were unlucky not to win.

“So we’ve showed we can bounce back. We have good boys in the dressing room.

“We let a lot of people down last weekend. So the motivation is there to make amends for that.” Despite his surgeon’s instructions, MacLean admitted that he approached manager Tommy Wright to discuss the idea of playing in Saturday’s cup tie - risking the wrath of his wife in the process.

He added: “I wish I’d played on Saturday - even though the missus would have gone mental.

“She warned me that if I told the gaffer to play me she’d be on the phone to him. But I reminded her it’d be my decision, although she didn’t exactly agree with that!

“So she got it on Saturday night as well because I was like a bear with a sore head. It was just a horrible weekend and I’m still wishing I’d just cracked on and played.

“I’ve been told not to, the surgeon told me it’s a no-no, but what do you do? I don’t even train on it so the sensible thing is to say why should you play on it.

“I know it was the right decision, but that didn’t make it any easier on Saturday.

“It’s done now and although I don’t agree with astroturf, there are no excuses.”