If the sun hasn’t been splitting the trees at St Mirren this season, the roof has threatened to cave in as a month’s worth of rain comes down upon them.
St Mirren, when all is said and done, have enjoyed a season of progress under manager Jim Goodwin. Covid-19 problems in the first round of fixtures had him fearing for his job but now he is staying in Paisley for the long haul, the 2013 League Cup winner penning a long-term contract extension earlier this year.
Two cup semi-finals provide a platform but the pain of missing the top six by two goals still hurts. Reflecting on it all, Goodwin said ahead of their final Scottish Premiership match of the season with Dundee United: “It’s hard to believe that we have finally got here. There were certain stages in the season when we thought it was never going to end.
“The fact we have one game to go is quite incredible. It’s been extremely challenging at times but very enjoyable as well in certain situations. Everyone connected to the club can be very proud of how we have managed to get through this season. There have been off-field matters that you hope you would never have to deal with again.
“But you find out a lot about yourself I suppose and how you deal with adversity. I have certainly learned a lot this season and hopefully that will stand me in good stead. At the beginning of the season we started quite well and then from about the fourth or fifth game onwards, you just felt that Covid really got a hold of us.
“Every single test we did, it seemed as if we were getting one or two positive cases back and were having to put players in isolation. And the guidelines were changing constantly. Everyone was learning at that time. September/October, we lost five or six games on the bounce and you do fear the worst at that moment.
“Albeit we had a number of off-field issues to deal with – going into games with no goalkeeper available, going into big games with 12-13 players in the squad, having to put two keepers on the bench to make up numbers and make it look less embarrassing. There was a little period in October when I must admit I did start to concern myself with the results and the way things were going.
“Ultimately, regardless of what goes on off the field, you are judged by what happens on it. The performances weren’t good enough, the results weren’t good enough, and you do start to think it’s not meant to be. Fortunately we were able to close down the club for a couple of weeks, everybody went into isolation, we managed to rid the place of Covid, and we went on an 11-game unbeaten run.
“In October you are worried about your job and in January/February you are talking about signing a new contract. It’s a funny game at times. It has been extremely challenging but it has made the club stronger and brought us all together even more.”
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