Can St Mirren Avoid The Drop?

Kyle Gunn takes a look at St Mirren’s season so far. It has been a challenging season for the Saints but he doesn’t think all hope is lost. You can view more of Kyle’s work, including some great interviews at www.kyletalksto.wordpress.com.

At the start of the season under Alex Rae and David Farrell St. Mirren fans could have been forgiven for thinking their team could mount a challenge for the promotion playoffs spots or even higher.

Now, under the stewardship of Jack Ross and James Fowler, seven points adrift at the foot of the Championship table, I don’t think too many Saints fans would be averse to finishing in the relegation playoff position.

With experienced campaigners, such as Andy Webster, Gary MacKenzie and John Sutton re-signing or coming in to the club, as well as the young blood of Stevie Mallan, Lewis Morgan, Kyle McAllister and Kyle Magennis stepping up, it looked as if the squad may have been good enough to challenge at the top end of league.

However, the Buddies made a dreadful start to the season and manager Alex Rae was sacked on the 18th of September. I have been following St. Mirren for the last fifteen years and quite frankly this is the worst spell I have been through with the club. The most concerning thing for me was we weren’t even being competitive in the early games of the campaign.

After a few weeks under the interim charge of Head of Youth Development Allan McManus, Saints made their next permanent appointment.

Jack Ross, who used to ply his trade as a defender in Paisley and was most recently manager of Alloa, was tasked with keeping the club in the Championship. He finally guided the team to their first league win against Queen of the South on the 6th of December, which was quickly followed by a home win against Raith Rovers.

What are the issues with a team who just four years ago won a major trophy? The biggest problem lies defensively. There have been 37 league goals conceded already this season. At the same time, the team hasn’t been clinical enough. We have had gilt-edged opportunities in many games and haven’t taken them, meaning we have been punished. Saints have been starved of stability too, with Jack Ross being the sixth permanent appointment in just a 29-month period.

What can change to try and keep the Buddies in the Championship? Well Jack Ross has already tried to move things around in this month’s transfer window. Craig Storie has joined on loan from Aberdeen until the end of the season. Loanees Tom Walsh and Ryan Hardie have left the club following the expiry of their time with the club. Negotiations to bring more new signings are well underway and more may be in before this weekend’s trip to Dunfermline.

If Jack tightens up at the back by bringing in a couple of defenders, and then we don’t pass up vital opportunities at the other end then I don’t see why we can’t stay up. However, this needs to happen and it needs to happen quickly, because we’re rapidly running out of games in which to do it.

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