St Mirren fans must be wondering what has happened since the Championship title victory in May. The club enjoyed highs not seen for many years under the guidance of Jack Ross.
His departure, along with poor summer signings and the inability to replace key attacking outlets Lewis Morgan and Gavin Reilly, have derailed the Buddies.
It’s been a case of one step forward and lots of steps backwards in recent months. A vital victory over Motherwell before Christmas was overshadowed by defeats to St Johnstone and Kilmarnock before the break.
With confidence hard to find, can St Mirren find the metal to steel themselves for a relegation dogfight?
A mountain of work ahead of them
The problem Oran Kearney has is his Buddies side have little Premiership quality. Summer signings like Josh Heaton and Jeff King have flopped in black and white. Heaton especially will anger the Buddies faithful. They forked out £75,000 for the former Darlington centre-half. This is a massive dent to Kearney’s budget, and forces him to wheel and deal in January.
St Johnstone’s victory over the Buddies must have been a real worry. Despite not being thrashed by their opponents, it showed that the Saints can’t hold out for a result. They’ve only won twice in Paisley and it gets worse away from home, having won just once on their travels since April.
The Buddies invite pressure on themselves. When they are still in a game in the second half, the team falls deeper and deeper into their own half, and with the defensive qualities they have, the Saints can’t hold off waves of attack for long.
Form plays a part in this. In the Championship the Buddies were fearless, now they look content with any sort of points they can grab.
Players like Simeon Jackson are being called upon to the lead the Buddies survival bid. He needs a strike partner though, as working as a lone striker doesn’t appear to work. Jackson can’t hold up the ball for long when he gets it played into him. Another striker would massively aid his performances.
St Mirren fans will be worried about their side’s chances, due to the amount of challenges they face to survive. If Kearney can keep this side up it’ll be an amazing achievement, but it will take a monumental effort.