As relegation looms large down Paisley way, past temptation for the St Mirren board and fans alike would be to swing the managerial axe.
However, Buddies everywhere, I urge you to take heed of manager Jack Ross’ words following his side’s crushing 3-0 home defeat to Queen of the South at the turn of the year, a game in which he personally remonstrated with disgruntled fans.
“I wouldn’t like anybody ever to question my desire for this football club to do better than it’s doing. This is my club now, it’s not clichéd, it’s true.
“When I go home I don’t sleep because I think about it, I want this club to do better, I want that team out there to represent what I’m like as a manager and as a coach.”
Gutsy, brave and full of desire to improve, exactly the kind of manager St Mirren have been crying out for since parting ways with League Cup winning gaffer Danny Lennon in 2014.
Although Saints’ Championship struggles have continued since Ross’ arrival last October, winning only two out of fifteen games to remain rooted to the foot of the table, there are reasons to be cheerful down Paisley way.
The Buddies are in the last eight of the Scottish Cup for the first time since 2013, where they will face the seemingly unbeatable Premiership leaders Celtic, and take on Welsh champions TNS this Sunday for a place in the Challenge Cup final.
Fans are turning out in numbers for away games again, 600 made the trip to Dundee, 800 turned out at Dumbarton and close to 900 braved the elements for East Fife, as interests peak around a revamped side.
Skipper Stephen McGinn is now genuinely leading the team, thankfully not following in the footsteps of his uninspiring predecessors Andy Webster and Gary Irvine.
Ross’ January signings have hit the ground running: goalie Billy O’Brien has been a revelation, Aberdeen loanees Craig Storie and Cammy Smith vital, with Rory Loy in amongst the goals too.
Most importantly the attitude around the club has improved immeasurably. There is sense of belief and a feeling things are about to click, but it may just be a little too late. Maybe next season, maybe a tier below.
The club’s fall from grace since that famous 2013 League Cup triumph has been spectacular to the point where League One football now seems inevitable.
To reiterate my point, St Mirren are not too big to fail, much like those before them. Rangers, Livingston, Dunfermline, Partick Thistle, even rivals Morton have plummeted the depths of Scottish football.
However, the Buddies are big enough to rebuild, regardless of league status.
Too often the former board made the wrong managerial appointment. Tommy Craig was cheap and incompetent, Ian Murray gutless and uninspiring, Alex Rae arrogant and short-sighted. Now with their own man in charge, the new fan-backed chiefs must steer the sinking St Mirren ship back up the slippery Scottish football pyramid.
Communication between club and fans has been strong since chairman Gordon Scott took the reins in July, with regular updates posted online to reassure supporters that operations are running smoothly.
Scott must now reassure Jack Ross that he is the right main for the job and will remain at the helm as The Buddies aim to scale the heights again.
Written by Calum Woodger