As the Premiership approaches the split, teams like Hearts, Hamilton, St Mirren and Ross County are all in big battles to avoid relegation.

The bottom three are all very tight as only three points separate bottom club Hearts and tenth placed St Mirren at the time of writing. Results over the weekend meant County were able to make a significant step in this race.

County have made strides. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

A battle to survive in this season’s Premiership is on. We’re taking a look at the bottom four sides, assessing their predicaments ahead of an important few months.

Ross County

As already mentioned, the weekend brought about Ross County’s biggest moment of the season so far. A late 2-1 win on their travels to Aberdeen moved them ten points clear of bottom and nine of 11th placed Hamilton.

St Mirren in tenth have two games in hand though so the margin to tenth could be cut to just a point potentially. That being said, Stuart Kettlewell and Steve Ferguson’s side’s unexpected Pittodrie win has given them a huge advantage.

A big win at Pittodrie. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

Interestingly, they have only won two away games all season, against third and fourth in the league. It is those six points that look to have made all the difference in County’s survival bid.

Two tough fixtures away fixtures against Motherwell and Rangers are to come before they face the bottom three consecutively before the split. Points gained in those final three encounters should ensure Staggies safety.

St Mirren

Jim Goodwin’s side haven’t been getting beat recently but they haven’t won many either. Inside 90 minutes of football during their last six games overall, they haven’t won a game, although they have only lost one fixture away to Livingston.

Plenty of draws. (Photo by Ben Banks)

A Scottish Cup penalty shootout victory away to Motherwell in their most recent fixture should give them a confidence boost. Sitting in tenth with two games in hand on teams either side of them, using those matches effectively could be key for St Mirren.

One of them is against Motherwell but the other is against bottom-placed Hearts. A victory will not only eliminate the Jambos’ game in hand but it’ll move the Buddies as many as nine points clear of 12th.

 

Three goals in his last two should give striker Jon Obika confidence whilst Akin Famewo and Conor McCarthy have formed a pretty decent centre-back paring. The Buddies run-in to the split though is tough. They’ve still to meet Celtic and Rangers plus trips to Fir Park and Rugby Park await.

Hamilton

Brian Rice has been stung with horrible injury luck in recent times, saying after the weekend’s draw with Motherwell that his side was ‘decimated.’ Losing players like Brian Easton, George Oakley, Mickel Miller and Andy Dales for sustained periods is a blow.

Oakley is a miss. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Getting victories over the line has also proven a challenge. On seven occasions this term have Accies dropped points from winning positions, points that could have proven valuable in their race for survival.

They don’t have the advantage of games in hand like St Mirren or Hearts and also have tough fixtures prior to the split. Rangers at Ibrox is next whilst a trip to a St Johnstone team who have lost twice in 15 games is also on the horizon.

Everyone is quick to write Accies off but surely people know by now that is foolish after five consecutive survivals. They’ve survived this scenario before and Accies need some of that determination to defy the odds again.

Hearts

The phrase ‘too big to go down’ has gone hand in hand at times with Hearts this term. You only need to look to recent examples in Hibs and Dundee United to see that is certainly not the case.

They are in a dogfight. (Photo by Callum Landells/Getty Images)

Hearts have been down in the Championship recently after their administration and they will not want to return again. With just three wins all season, time is running out for them.

And the upcoming fixtures are not plain-sailing. They’ll face four current members of the top six, three away from home, before the split. Of their total 19 points though, ten have been collected against top six opposition.

Daniel Stendel needs his ideas to sink in and his big players to step up now. On paper they have the best squad of any of the three other teams mentioned here but something hasn’t clicked for over a year now. What Accies, County and St Mirren have in abundance is dig and workmanship, something Hearts need to seriously develop or they’ll fall through the trapdoor.

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