What a difference a fortnight makes. Defeat at home to Dunfermline Athletic on November 19 left St Mirren six points adrift at the bottom of the Ladbrokes Championship table, and winless after 14 games.
Fast forward to this weekend’s meeting with Ayr United, and you’ll find the Buddies priced as 11/10 favourites to record a third successive league win. So – what’s gone right?
For starters, Jack Ross’ men have suddenly developed a real battling quality, as evidenced in their dramatic 3-2 victory at Queen of the South last weekend.
The Paisley club trailed 1-0 and 2-1 at Palmerston Park, with Ben Gordon lashing home an equaliser, before Stephen Mallan’s 93rd-minute curler secured victory in the most dramatic fashion.
That marked the first time any visitors had come from behind and won a league game in Dumfries since October 2015.
And the Buddies followed up that morale-boosting win with an impressively solid display against Raith Rovers, chalking up a 1-0 victory thanks to 20-year-old Lewis Morgan’s thunderous strike just after half time.
He’s one of a number of young talents that Ross has persisted with this season, and the gaffer’s patience is finally being rewarded by the faith he’s put in the club’s emerging names.
Pacy midfielder Kyle Magennis and former Rangers prodigy Ryan Hardie have both looked good during the side’s current mini-run, while Mallan and Lawrence Shankland could yet come good on last season’s promise, with both shining in the 5-1 Scottish Cup demolition of Spartans.
Admittedly the Saints defence haven’t impressed too much this season, but having achieved a first clean sheet in 23 games by beating Raith Rovers 1-0, the pressure has been relieved on a defence which – on paper at least – possesses some good-quality players.
Former Scotland international Andy Webster is tough to get past and boasts tonnes of experience, while Gary Irvine offers creativity on the left flank and Gary MacKenzie is almost unbeatable in the air.
With the sides around them dropping points, the Buddies could well be out of the relegation battle before long. Queen of the South have drawn three and lost seven of their last 10 Championship games, while Ayr United have taken two points from six games, dropping to eighth place in the process.
That’s seen St Mirren claw their way back to within six points of three sides, and they’ll look to continue shrinking that gap against Ayr United this weekend, with 11/10 for the Paisley club to make it three wins on the bounce.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing