SPL

Stephen Robinson happy St Mirren are ‘going in the right direction’

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

Boss Stephen Robinson believes there are plenty of positives despite St Mirren not quite managing to secure a place in the top six after drawing 1-1 at Motherwell.

The Buddies opened the scoring after 18 minutes when Marcus Fraser nodded home but they were pegged back with 16 minutes remaining as Theo Bair bundled over the line.

Robinson’s side remain fifth in the Premiership and hold a five-point advantage over Hibernian in seventh with just two games remaining.

He said: “Overall, to come to Fir Park and get a point is another point towards our ultimate goal which is top six.

“I thought we should have won the game but when you don’t take your chances then you don’t.

“The fact we’re in the running for the top six two years in a row after such a long absence tells you we are going in the right direction.”

Having lost 5-2 at Kilmarnock in their last league outing, Robinson was pleased with the resilience his side demonstrated against the Steelmen.

The Northern Irishman also praised their travelling support for staying with the team throughout.

“After Kilmarnock, it was important we were hard to break down, hard to beat and we were,” he added.

“The reaction to two weeks ago and the fans reaction, they stayed with the boys even when they equalised.”

Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell talked up his team’s spirit after they battled back from behind to claim a hard-earned point.

Bair took his tally for the season to 12 to earn Well a share of the spoils.

“I thought we started really well in the game, we played with a real purpose and we were a real threat down our left-hand side,” Kettlewell said.

“There was a frantic four or five-minute spell, St Mirren hitting the crossbar from a free-kick, we know they’ve got quality with the guys that surround the ball and even from the follow-up that cannons off the bar as well.

“It probably just rocked us a wee bit leading into the goal we concede. We’ve got the throw-in, it leads to a corner for then and, fundamentally, we’ve got to defend it better.

“The most pleasing aspect is not being at our best, not passing as well as what I’ve seen us do, not connecting key players in the game – we still had that bit of character.”

Motherwell have kept their slim hopes of landing a top-six place alive despite failing to win at home for the second game in a row.

The Steelmen are six points behind Dundee, with just two games remaining, so will need favours from elsewhere and to take maximum points before the split.

Kettlewell added: “It still keeps us in the position of trying to get the top six, we find ourselves six points behind and still have Dundee and Hibs to play.

“It keeps us in the mix, we need a few favours and a few things to drop our way.”

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Turkiye - Hakan Calhanoglu

    While the praise for Turkiye's young stars was warranted, it overshadowed the impressive display of Calhanoglu at the heart of their midfield against Georgia.

    The Inter man completed 88 passes against Georgia last time out, the most by a Türkiye player in a European Championship game, with a passing accuracy of 92.6 per cent. 

    Portugal – Vitinha

    Another midfield maestro had yet another impressive display in their Group F opener, with Vitinha completing more passes under high-intensity pressure (59) than any other player in the opening round of games at Euro 2024.

    Only Toni Kroos (30) made more line-breaking passes than the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder on MD1 (21). 

    MATCH PREDICTION – PORTUGAL WIN

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    Montella will be keen to continue his 50th birthday celebrations when he returns to Dortmund on Saturday, with the possibility of equalling their most victories in a single edition of the European Championship (two in 2008). They have only managed more at a major tournament in the 2002 World Cup (four).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Turkiye - 17.8%

    Draw - 20.3%

    Portugal - 62%

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