Saint Mirren In Big Trouble At Bottom Of Scottish Premiership
When the Scottish Premiership welcomed a new relegation play-off last season, Saint Mirren fans would have been more worried than most.
The previous format of Scotland’s top division would see only each season’s bottom side of the 12 relegated, but the new format means that while the bottom side still goes straight down, the 11th placed team must also navigate two legs against a promotion hopeful from Scotland’s second tier. Since Saint Mirren won promotion in 2006, the Paisley side has finished in that 11th position every second season, meaning the new format was more of a danger to the Buddies than to the rest of the division.
An 8th placed finish last season meant that Saint Mirren escaped the drama of the play-off, yet it also meant that it was almost inevitable they would finish second bottom this campaign.
Now, however, most Saints fans would jump at the chance to finish 11th. That’s because the Buddies currently lie rock bottom of the table.
Yet another late defeat against Kilmarnock this Saturday dealt Saint Mirren a massive blow in their battle for survival. Lee Miller’s 87th minute goal for Killie left the Saints bottom, one point behind Motherwell – who lost 2-1 in Aberdeen on the Friday night – and four from Ross County in 10th. It was Saint Mirren’s third defeat of the season against Killie and the third time they had conceded to the Rugby Park side after 80 minutes. Not being able to finish off games is not a trait often associated with teams that avoid relegation.
It is not a promising situation at all for new boss Gary Teale, who hasn’t been helped by Ross County’s five match unbeaten run which was extended this week after a 2-2 draw at Hamilton and Motherwell’s recent improvement since the return of their club legend Scott McDonald – the Australian has scored two goals in his first three matches. Partick Thistle’s 3-0 rout of Saint Johnstone this weekend also moved them further away from the relegation battle and probably out of reach.
Nine matches – or nine cup finals - may remain for Saint Mirren, who will have the chance to play both Motherwell and Ross County twice more before the season ends, so plenty can change between now and the final whistle on May 24th.
This time in 2013 the Saints were preparing for a real cup final, that of the League Cup which they went on to win. How quickly fortunes can change in football…