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Buttigieg wary of complacency as Spartans eye top spot

Ħamrun midfielder Matthew Guillaumier lobs the ball over Floriana goalkeeper Ini Akpan. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Ħamrun Spartans coach Mark Buttigieg has warned his players against any form of complacency as the in-form Reds will be looking to go top of the Premier League standings when they take on Tarxien Rainbows on Wednesday afternoon (kick-off: 5pm).

The Spartans have underlined their title ambitions with sparkling displays which saw them secure impressive victories over Old Firm rivals Sliema Wanderers (2-0) and Floriana (3-1) that lifted them to third place in the standings on 25 points, three adrift of the leaders.

On Wednesday, Ħamrun have the chance to end the year at the top of the Premier League standings with victory over the Rainbows.

But Buttigieg is not taking anything for granted, particularly after having seen his team produce a sloppy performance against Lija Athletic a few weeks ago which saw them unable to go beyond a 2-2 draw.

“I sincerely hope that we have learnt from what happened to us against Lija Athletic and we take the field with the right approach,” the former Nadur Youngsters coach told the Times of Malta.

“Tarxien Rainbows are a very tricky side and we need to give them the respect that they deserve.

“I expect the players to take the field with the right frame of mind and play with the same aggressiveness that we showed against both Sliema Wanderers and Floriana.

“I think that we have seen time and again this season that every team in the division is capable of getting results against the top teams and we need to make sure that we learn from such lessons.

“I expect the players to approach the match with the same high intensity we showed against Floriana.”

Buttigieg said that the Spartans victory over Floriana was the result of a strong collective effort from the players.

“It was a tough test for my team, but no doubt the players produced a strong collective

effort to come from behind and get the three points,” Buttigieg said.

“Despite falling behind after only three minutes of play, the reaction from the team was outstanding as we managed to turn the game around and that shows that this team is finally maturing and that is very satisfying to see.

“One has to remember that our team was built from scratch and if somebody had told me at the start of the season that after 12 matches we would be just three points from top spot, I would have signed up for it.

“Looking at our performances, personally I feel that the only match where we deserved not to win the match was against Birkirkara as they were far better than us.

“Against Gżira United, Hibs and Balzan our performance was very good and surely we deserved to take all points but for some reason or other we dropped precious points and hopefully we can improve on that.”

PROGRAMME

TUESDAY

HIBS STADIUM

Floriana vs Birkirkara  17.00

CENTENARY STADIUM

Sirens vs Mosta            21.15

WEDNESDAY

CENTENARY STADIUM

Ħamrun S. vs Tarxien R.            17.00

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