Manager Stephen Robinson praised his St Mirren players for sealing top-six football for a second successive season and urged them to now aim for Europe.

The Paisley side lost 2-1 at home to Hearts, who forged into a two-goal lead thanks to Jorge Grant’s penalty and a Mikael Mandron own goal.

Toyosi Olusanya’s strike wasn’t enough to prevent St Mirren slipping to defeat but Hibernian’s failure to win against St Johnstone confirmed a top-half finish for the Buddies.

Robinson said: “The top six is achieved over 33 games and you get your rewards. We are five points clear in fifth place and this group thoroughly deserves that.

“It’s the first time the club has achieved successive top-six finishes in 39 years. People’s expectations have risen massively and that’s down to the players.

“With the resources we have, we shouldn’t be in the top six. We are punching way above our weight in terms of the clubs we are competing with.

“Credit to the staff who work tirelessly to drag every bit of energy and quality out of the squad. And to the board who have backed us for the last two years and tried to push the club forward.

“Now our aim is can we get into Europe? It’s 37 years since we managed that but now we can breathe a bit, relax and play our football.”

Opposite number Steven Naismith was equally satisfied as Hearts ground out their 10th away victory of the season to strengthen their hold on third place.

He explained: “I said that to the squad after the game. I think this is probably the stereotypical game Hearts have been questioned in over the years.

“Can you deal with the fight? Add to that St Mirren are going for the top six so when we take the lead, we know they were going to go gung-ho.

“They did and brought more attacking players on and we had to deal with it – and I think we did.

“We did it without three of our most consistent players this season and we did it in terrible conditions that both teams had to play in. So for me it’s a fantastic win.”

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.”

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson praised his players for their perseverance after coming from behind to defeat Aberdeen 2-1 at home in dramatic fashion.

Neil Warnock’s side had led from Connor Barron’s first-minute strike and looked on course for a first league victory for two months.

But Mark O’Hara converted a penalty after Toyosi Olusanya was fouled in the sixth minute of time added on before Olusanya claimed the winner a minutes later.

Robinson admitted he would have preferred to have seen the goals arrive sooner but felt his team were well worthy of the final outcome.

He said: “We had 70 per cent possession and 14 shots – we deserved to win.

“It took a lot longer than we wanted to get the goals but it showed the character and quality of the squad with the subs we made.

“Conor McMenamin was outstanding after training only three days, Toyosi comes on and scores the winner, it shows the strength in depth.

“It was everything we deserved. We dominated the game. They scored from a wonder goal but outwith that they were not a threat and looked a team under pressure.

“We tried to get the ball down and when we did that we controlled the game. It didn’t surprise me. It would have been an injustice otherwise if we hadn’t scored.

“We got the penalty we deserved, arguably we could have had two more that were very close decisions. The players showed a great attitude.”

Warnock, in contrast, was devastated at not seeing the game out as Aberdeen’s winless streak in the league was extended to 10 games.

The veteran manager said: “It’s difficult to talk as I’m absolutely distraught. The lads have given me everything and I’m so disappointed to lose in the way we did.

“You can’t go away from today and not be disappointed. We were on our knees and that’s how they should feel.

“They deserved to win that game. I don’t think they [St Mirren] knew how to break us down, not a clue. So it makes it doubly disappointing.

“The penalty knocked the players’ confidence and it was disappointing to concede again after all that effort. I thought that was the best we defended since I had been here.”

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson felt his side should have been awarded a penalty in their 1-1 draw at Ross County.

The Buddies had to come from behind after an Alex Gogic mistake allowed Jordan White to slot past goalkeeper Zach Hemming early on, but Robinson felt a possible handball from Ross County’s Ryan Leak should have been checked by VAR.

Toyosi Olusanya salvaged a point late on for St Mirren, but Robinson said: “There was a blatant handball and I believe it wasn’t checked.

“That happened before the foul, so I don’t understand why that would be.

“I can’t control that, but it seems quite obvious from what we’ve seen and what we’ve been told.

“We were not at the top of our game, there were three or four players who were below what they have been recently, but we showed great character to get back into it and get a point – and it could have been three with the chance at the end.

“We didn’t start well. We made a mistake, which is so uncharacteristic of Alex, but he showed great mentality to play the way he did after.

“Ross County scored with their only shot on goal, which came from our mistake. But we didn’t play as well as we can.

“The subs gave us a real impetus when they came on. A point away from home is a point gained. If we can take seven points from this week it would be fantastic for us.”

Ross County interim manager Don Cowie looked at the result as two points dropped after they had enjoyed the lead for so long in the match.

“It was two points dropped, especially when you’re leading with five minutes to go,” Cowie said.

“It wasn’t the greatest game or the best performance from us but when you’re leading at that stage you have to get the points.

“I thought we defended very well until the goal.

“St Mirren are a very good team with a lot of players who can hurt you but I thought we kept them pretty quiet so it’s frustrating.

“The message before the game was to build on Saturday and we’ve done that by adding a point. It’s a step in the right direction, taking four from six, and we want to add to that against Hibs now.”

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson praised his players for making their dominance count as goals from Mikael Mandron and Toyosi Olusanya earned them a 2-0 home win over Dundee.

Robinson was eager to see his side build on their weekend win over Hibernian and they were the superior side throughout before Mandron broke the deadlock midway through the second half.

Olusanya’s strike in injury time, after defender James Bolton had been sent off, settled matters to lift Saints nine points clear of their vanquished opponents.

Robinson said: “I thought it was very important in the last two games to get maximum points which we’ve done.

“We created a lot more chances and it probably should have been more comfortable than it was.

“Dundee were stubborn but we defended well, too. We controlled the game and made lots of good chances. Trevor Carson made two great saves, one in the first half and one in the second.

“It was important to follow up Saturday’s result with another good one. So we’re delighted to be able to do that.

“Dundee are a good side. If you’re not going to finish teams off you run that risk. We knew we’d have a chance to counter-attack with Toyosi coming off the bench. It’s our third win in four games and fifth in 10. There’s a real belief in the squad.”

Bolton was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Owen Dodgson but Robinson was not in a place to make a considered assessment.

He added: “I haven’t seen it back. The referee said there was a lot of momentum. I’ve only seen it from a distance so it’s hard to make an informed comment.”

The game kicked off 30 minutes late after Dundee were held up in traffic, with Robinson conceding it was a compromise between him and opposite number, Tony Docherty.

He added: “You can’t help the traffic. We agreed when to move it back to. Tony wanted it a little later than that but I’d probably have been asleep by then!”

Docherty was frustrated that his side wasn’t awarded a late penalty for handball, especially after the one conceded by his team against Hearts at the weekend.

The Dundee manager said: “There was a decision in the 87th minute that should have gone our way, based on previous games. We’re aggrieved at that.

“It’s a handball that’s identical to the one Lee Ashcroft was punished for on Saturday. Yes, I agree the player’s hands weren’t in an unnatural position.

“But it stops the ball’s path to goal. I don’t understand why that one against Hearts was a penalty, and that one wasn’t.”

St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson has stressed the importance of Wednesday night’s home clash with Dundee to his players.

The fifth-placed Buddies are bristling with confidence following their convincing 3-0 cinch Premiership win over Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday.

Next up are Tony Docherty’s Taysiders who, along with Hibs, are also competing with Saints for a top-six finish, but Robinson is looking for more league joy before St Mirren host Celtic in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman said: “We established ourselves as a top-six side last season.

“The hardest bit is trying to repeat that. So far we are doing that.

“These two games against teams directly below us means it gives you a little bit of a cushion if you can win the game.

“Sometimes you try to play that down to players, but we have done the opposite, we have played it up and made the level of importance of the game really high and it is the same on Wednesday night.

“We created numerous chances against Hibs, but that comes from a solid base and we need that tomorrow night and we need it again on Sunday.”

Robinson insists lessons were learned in the 4-0 defeat by Dundee in November, the Buddies’ biggest defeat of the season.

He said: “We had a lot of possession, 60 per cent, and we had more than 30 crosses into the box, but we played in front of Dundee a lot, we didn’t go in behind them, turn them around and make them go towards their own goal. So there’s lessons in that.

“We conceded from two set-plays. Dundee are a high threat in set-plays, very well-organised and very pro-active in their set-plays.

“We have to be well versed in that. No matter how bad we played up until half-time, we were 2-0 down due to set-plays.

“It is a critical part of the game now and we have to be on top of that tomorrow night.”

St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson has bracketed Steven Davis alongside George Best in the pantheon of Northern Ireland greats following the midfielder’s retirement on Thursday.

Davis is most closely associated with Rangers where in two spells at the Ibrox club he won four titles, as well as lifting both the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup on three occasions.

The 39-year-old played 140 times for Northern Ireland – the UK male international caps record –  while former Manchester United and Northern Ireland winger Best is generally accepted to be one of the best players ever to have played the game.

Robinson, capped seven times for Northern Ireland where he played alongside Davis and who was assistant to Michael O’Neill at Euro 2016, said of his former team-mate: “He’s, if not the best, then he’s right up there.

“He should be mentioned in the same bracket as George Best. In terms of his longevity and what he has contributed to Northern Irish football.

“Obviously two completely different players, two completely different positions but in terms of recognition I think he will be recognised in that bracket as one of the greatest players ever to play for Northern Ireland.

“He is such a talented boy and what he has done for Northern Irish football.

“He went to the Euros, he was a great captain for Michael O’Neill throughout his time and provided so much for the young players coming through and he has been an inspiration and for someone I have worked with – he is arguably the best player I worked with on the training pitch.

“Never caused a minute’s problem, easy maintenance, easy to manage but a super, super talented boy.”

Kilmarnock strengthened their grip on fourth place in the cinch Premiership as Marley Watkins’ goal sealed a 1-0 win away to St Mirren.

The first-half strike helped extend Derek McInnes’ side’s recent good run of form to four wins and a draw from their last five games.

In contrast, St Mirren are in the midst of a slump that has seen them win just once in seven games, Stephen Robinson’s men a shadow of the side that started the season in sparkling form.

Robinson made two changes from Saints’ weekend defeat to Hearts. In came James Bolton and Toyosi Olusunya, replacing Thierry Small and Alex Greive.

For Kilmarnock there was just once change following their win over St Johnstone, with Matty Kennedy replacing Liam Polworth.

The hosts had the first real chance of the game as Richard Taylor fizzed in a long-range effort that Will Dennis did well to hold onto.

St Mirren had the ball in the net after 14 minutes when Jonah Ayunga bundled it in after Dennis had saved Olusunya’s effort only for it to be chalked out for offside.

Killie took a while to get going and from one promising attack, Danny Armstrong swept his shot well off target.

It was the visitors, though, who went in front after 25 minutes. Kennedy played in Watkins and he finished well past Zach Hemming.

The home side responded with a low driven effort from Ayunga but it lacked the pace to trouble Dennis.

Kilmarnock were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position when Taylor brought down Armstrong and was booked. But Kennedy’s effort struck the defensive wall and trickled out for a corner.

At the other end, Dennis did well to repel Scott Tanser’s volley from just outside the box as St Mirren tried to get back into the contest.

After all the heavy rain earlier in the day, the surface was unsurprisingly slippery and Alex Gogic picked up a booking after losing his footing and inadvertently brought down Brad Lyons.

Greg Kiltie had the first chance of note in the second half but his looped effort was easily gathered by Dennis.

Robinson turned to his bench to try to gain some fresh impetus, sending on Mika Mandron and Conor McMenamin.

The Northern Ireland international nearly made an instant impact but his flashing effort flew across the face of goal with no takers in the middle.

Dennis then pulled off a brilliant save to tip Bolton’s header over the crossbar as St Mirren belatedly began to exert some pressure.

That was matched at the other end by a stunning Zach Hemming save to push away Rory McKenzie’s goal-bound volley as Killie racked up a precious away win.

Steven Naismith admitted interest in talismanic captain Lawrence Shankland is inevitable after he continued his red-hot scoring form with a double in Hearts’ 2-0 cinch Premiership win over St Mirren.

The Scotland forward notched a poacher’s header in the first half and then a stunning strike early in the second that opposing manager Stephen Robinson described as “an incredible finish”.

Shankland has now scored 43 goals in 18 months since joining Hearts and Naismith anticipates other clubs to test their resolve in the January window.

“I think there is already interest in him,” said the Jambos boss.

“When you have got players playing at the top of their game there is going to be interest.

“Every club in Scotland are in that same category where we are not at the elite, top level where you can just push away anyone being interested in your players – but that doesn’t change anything.

“We are a club that’s in a really good situation. We are progressive and we want to get better as a business, better as a football squad, and having Shanks is part of that.

“So no, everyone is comfortable. The pleasing aspect is that he is doing so well. It’s credit to the team, credit to Shanks and credit to us all as a group. There is going to be interest when you are doing well.

“The first goal, Shanks is instinctively in the right place as a forward. For the second one, as soon as he takes his first touch he knows what he is doing.

“There’s no panic, there’s no rushed feeling. As soon as it leaves his boot he knows it’s a goal, 100 per cent. It’s top, top quality but that’s Shanks. That shows you his value to us.”

Naismith was delighted with a victory that took Hearts two points clear in third place with a game in hand.

“After games you go through each part,” he said.

“The result, good. Two goals, good. Clean sheet, good. So it is really pleasing against a team who have been really good this season.”

St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson rued his team’s lack of attacking quality as they suffered a fourth defeat in six matches.

“We got what we deserved. First half we pressed really well and won the ball back on numerous occasions and had lots of opportunities to play forward and penetrate but we didn’t do that with any quality,” he said.

“That’s frustrating because we’re better than that. We ended up losing a goal from a set-play which has been our Achilles heel. It’s so frustrating.

“Lawrence has scored a lot of goals there and we pointed that out beforehand but we went in 1-0 because of that, not because of them opening us up.

“The second goal was exceptional and it killed any momentum we had. That’s the difference between the levels, the financial disparity is huge and that’s why they’re able to get players like Lawrence Shankland. It was an incredible finish.” 

Stephen Robinson jumped to the defence of Mark O’Hara after the St Mirren skipper missed a second-half penalty in the goalless draw with Motherwell.

O’Hara had his spot-kick parried away by Liam Kelly shortly after half-time, and the Buddies then survived a number of close-calls as the visitors failed to take advantage of four one-on-one opportunities.

St Mirren slipped to fourth in the cinch Premiership table, dropping behind Hearts on goal difference.

“There’s no criticism of Mark, people miss penalties – he’s brave enough to step up every week and take them,” said St Mirren boss Robinson.

“Even the rebound is affected by the wind, it puts it back to him so quickly he can’t react.

“Credit to Liam, he makes a good save and Mark misses it – it happens in football and you dust yourself down, we had chances to win the game outwith that.”

Despite his side losing their grip on third place in the Premiership table, Robinson insists that every point picked up is a positive for Saints.

The windy conditions caused havoc for both teams during a fiercely-contested encounter in which neither side was able to find a cutting edge.

“The wind plays a huge part in the game of course, it’s very difficult to be able to play but credit to both teams – for a neutral I’d imagine it was quite an exciting game,” added Robinson.

“Every point when you are St Mirren is a point gained, trust me.

“This group have raised expectations way above where they probably should be which is great and that’s credit to them.

“We’re a similar sized club as Motherwell and you could see how delighted they were to get a point at the end – it maybe shows how far we have come and it’s up to us to keep meeting those expectations.

“I believe we are, we’re sitting fourth in the league in the middle of December. I’m sure at the start of the season we would have been happy with that.”

Manager Stuart Kettlewell was frustrated as the Steelmen failed to take their chances and end their search for an elusive victory.

Motherwell have not managed to register a win in their last 14 league fixtures and have slipped into the relegation play-off spot.

“Ultimately we can all debate and argue about what happens over the course of 90 minutes but we by far had the best chances in the game,” Kettlewell said.

“I understand that Liam Kelly makes a save from a penalty and one down to his right-hand side from Thierry Small, outwith that the clear-cut chances in the game were ours.

“I expect when certain guys are landing in those positions, like Blair Spittal, Callum Slattery, Mika Biereth, Theo Bair towards the end, I’m thinking we’re getting the right guys in position to convert them.

“There’s a little bit of frustration of course that we’ve not come away with three points because I thought we were well organised, well drilled in tough conditions – it was always going to be hard coming here without the wind, the rain and everything else that came with it.

“We want to win a game, we want to try break this duck and move in the right direction, but performance-level wise and what we put out on the pitch today, I’m relatively happy with overall.”

St Mirren are set to be without Australia international Ryan Strain for three months.

The wing-back is due to undergo surgery on the groin injury he suffered on international duty last month.

Manager Stephen Robinson said: “Ryan has gone to London for surgery. He will have surgery on Monday and unfortunately he will be in the region of three months, which is a huge blow for us.

“But it’s up to other people to step into the plate now. We have a small squad which is tested to the limit with injuries, especially long-term ones, but we are no different to anyone else.

“I don’t work on the excuse mentality, I try and work on the basis that someone else will get an opportunity to prove they should be in the side and make up for Ryan’s loss.”

The 26-year-old is approaching a crucial time in his career with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.

Robinson said: “We spoke with Ryan’s representatives about a new contract and they weren’t interested at that stage in terms of signing.

“Ryan has obviously had a huge blow with his injury and it’s a blow to us because Ryan has been a big, integral part of what we have done in our relative success.

“But you can’t feel sorry for yourself. Ryan will get the best medical treatment possible and he’s got the best physio around that will help him get back.

“He has to buy into that, he has to have the attitude and the work ethic that Jonah Ayunga had with a long-term injury.

“His aim as a young man is to come back stronger and fitter than he was before.

“Then the decision is in his hands in terms of what he does the following season but hopefully he will be back long before then.”

Saints take on Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday and Robinson is optimistic they will show more belief than they did in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat against Ross County, who scored late on through Jordan White.

“You need belief,” Robinson said. “We have got the talent.

“Our lessons from Tuesday night, my biggest frustration wasn’t actually losing the game. If we had drawn the game I would still have been frustrated with our performance because we didn’t put our stamp on the game, our style on the game.

“That has to be what we do at Ibrox, we have a belief that, when we land on the ball, we can play.

“We believe we have players who can hurt Rangers in certain areas and we will go there with a belief.

“We learn our lessons, you have ups and downs. It’s never going to be smooth journey as a football manager or a football squad but we have a group of players who totally believe in each other.

“We looked like we didn’t have a little bit of belief for certain periods but we have spoken about it and I’m sure will be better for it.”

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson remains unconvinced that VAR is improving football, despite a positive independent assessment for Scotland’s match officials.

An independent review panel (IRP) has deemed that just three of the first 407 VAR checks this season produced the wrong outcome.

It is understood that the panel of former players, coaches and managers gave match officials a higher accuracy rating for major decisions than the Scottish Football Association referees department itself.

St Mirren were on the end of one of those perceived mistakes for a so-called double-hit penalty by Aberdeen’s Bojan Miovski – and Dundee the other two – but Robinson believes it is supporters who are being short-changed by how the technology is being used.

The former Motherwell boss said: “It is not making football better for me and I would imagine the vast majority of fans.

“We have to remember football is about fans. Remember Covid, football wasn’t the same game. Fans should be asked ‘is it making it better?’ And from the fans I know and speak to, it isn’t. People pay a fortune to watch football and they should be asked.

“The authorities are trying to make things better but it needs to happen sooner rather than later because it is no consolation to us or any other team that has happened to. It has happened the right way for us as well but at least they are looking at it.”

Robinson believes improving communication is key to the success of VAR.

“Communication between the fourth official and managers has improved massively,” he said. “They do tell you what is going on when you have three or four checks at the same time.

“I think they should communicate with the fans. I wouldn’t have as many voices involved in it, it adds to the confusion.

“But the biggest thing for me, the referee should be called over to make the decision not influenced or told what somebody else thinks. He should still referee the game.

“He should be brought over to look at the incident – not, ‘I believe this is a red card, can you come and see it again’? And if he still makes the same decision, so be it.”

Miovski’s spot-kick equaliser in the 10th minute of stoppage-time in Paisley on August 27 prevented St Mirren going top of the cinch Premiership.

There was a VAR check after Saints goalkeeper Zach Hemming claimed the Aberdeen striker had touched the ball twice after slipping, but the goal was given without referee John Beaton being asked to review the footage.

The panel’s verdict was handed down to the 12 Premiership clubs during a meeting with the referees department on Thursday.

Audio of conversations between match officials and the VAR control room was relayed to the club representatives and explanations were given over how some key match incidents were dealt with.

The IRP was set up by the governing body ahead of the start of the season. Three people are called up from a pool of former players, managers and coaches for each review meeting and are guided by experts on the Laws of the Game.

They looked at the most contentious issues of the 407 reviews in the first round of cinch Premiership fixtures and the Viaplay Cup, 24 of which led to on-field reviews.

Other than Miovski’s penalty, the other two perceived errors went against Dundee.

The panel felt Josh Mulligan should not have been sent off for a challenge on Kilmarnock winger Danny Armstrong on September 23.

Video assistant referee Euan Anderson asked David Munro to review the incident but the referee stuck by his original decision.

The IRP also felt Dundee were on the receiving end of an injustice when Amadou Bakayoko had a goal disallowed in a 2-0 win at Livingston on October 28. Referee Willie Collum ruled the goal out after reviewing footage, deciding the offside Jordan McGhee was interfering with play.

Stephen Robinson fears Ryan Strain could be out for weeks with a groin strain as he welcomed back fit-again Jonah Ayunga to his St Mirren squad.

The 26-year-old wing-back had to go off in the first half of Australia’s World Cup qualifier against Palestine in Kuwait and had a scan on his injury on returning to Scotland.

Ayunga has not played for the Buddies since he ruptured his ACL against Motherwell in January, but the 26-year-old striker has worked himself back into contention for the cinch Premiership game against Livingston on Saturday.

The St Mirren boss is looking for a “reset” after a 4-0 defeat by Dundee before the international break, but will also have Keanu Baccus suspended for the visit of the Lions to Paisley.

Robinson said: “Ryan Strain came back with a groin injury, which we had scanned yesterday, so we are still waiting on results from it but we are not very hopeful.

“He certainly won’t be available for Saturday. It looks like it will be weeks rather than days so it is a big blow for us.

“Jonah has been training for nearly six weeks now which is a lot of good training time.

“He played 90 minutes last week (bounce game) and was very good. So he is certainly ready to be involved, at what stage or level we will decide in the next 24 hours.

“Jonah is a very laid back boy. There is not a lot that gets him up or down. I am sure there is maybe a different side to him at home, but he is a great boy, a boy who I have worked with at two clubs.

“He has pushed himself and credit must go to Gerry Docherty (physio) and Gary McColl (strength and conditioning), who have pushed him to the limit and got him into a condition that he is ready to go. It is credit to all three.

“I felt the game against Dundee was a one-off game, where as a collective we didn’t play particularly well and we need to reset ourselves again and do what we were doing which was not playing in front of people and I am comfortable we will do that on Saturday. We want to get another win under our belt.”

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson praised his “outstanding” side as he focused on the positives after a late blow against Aberdeen cost them top spot in the cinch Premiership.

Saints fought back to lead 2-1 thanks to Greg Kiltie’s penalty and a strike from substitute Alex Greive and were moments away from a seventh straight win.

But a VAR review led to a penalty for handball against Alex Gogic and Bojan Miovski levelled 10 minutes into stoppage-time.

St Mirren had recovered from a late blow in the first half when Jonny Hayes’ free-kick nestled in the far corner in Aberdeen’s first attack of note in the 42nd minute.

And Robinson wants his players to quickly brush off the last-gasp setback.

Robinson said: “I thought we dominated the game from start to finish. We created all of the chances and luck didn’t go our way with certain things.

“All I can ask for is that level of quality and I got that. Some of the football we played and the quality of the chances we created were a credit to that group of players. I would rather talk about them than about decisions or things that went against us.

“That’s all I can ask of those boys who are very, very talented and I’m very proud of them.

“They feel that they should have another two points but ultimately we don’t.

“If we play like that, as we have done for the last seven games, we’ll be fine. We controlled the game and passed the ball really well and opened up an Aberdeen side which has spent a lot of money.

“They are a very good side, make no mistake about that. They are doing very well and doing very well in Europe but we made them look average because of our performance. They are a good side but our quality was outstanding.

“All I can say to the boys is to keep going as we are heading in the right direction.”

There was further drama after Miovski hit the net as the striker’s penalty was subjected to a VAR check for a “double touch”.

Robinson, whose side had two goals disallowed for offside, said: “You’re always going to have that throughout games and these things happen sometimes. It didn’t go our way. It would be wrong for me to make a comment as it wouldn’t be an educated comment as I’ve not seen it from any great angle.”

Aberdeen were a shadow of the side that drew 2-2 with Swedish champions BK Hacken in Gothenburg on Thursday.

Manager Barry Robson said: “First and foremost credit to St Mirren. I thought they were excellent.

“We looked a yard off it all over the pitch. But, when you can’t win it then you don’t lose it. I thought we hung in there and fought right until the end.

“It was hard to go from the high of Hacken to playing the form team in Scotland. They had won their first six games this season and we have been on the road for a long time.

“I think the fans helped us in the end. We needed to get something out of the game and thanks to them we did.  We probably got a few VAR decisions as well.”

Meanwhile, Robson claimed he was “hugely” confident that Miovski would still be at the club next week amid reports Southampton are preparing a bid for the North Macedonia striker.

Stephen Robinson believes there is more to come from his St Mirren side after they moved top of the cinch Premiership with a 2-1 victory over Dundee.

The Buddies have won their opening two fixtures of the season and find themselves three points clear at the summit of the league table following a well-deserved success at the SMISA Stadium.

Joe Shaughnessy’s own goal and Mikael Mandron’s header had the hosts in control at half-time, though Josh Mulligan netted to set up a nervy conclusion.

Having thrown away a 2-0 lead against Hibernian in their last fixture before clinching a late victory, there was clear tension when Dundee clawed a goal back and Robinson is looking for more composure from his team.

“Result wise it has been very good. In both games we’ve went 2-0 up, lot’s of good quality – in the first half we should have been up by more,” he said.

“We need a little bit more composure in managing the game, it became a little bit frantic and panicky but we still created chances.

“We were resolute and showed real determination to hang on. We’ve managed to pick up results while we’re improving and I think we’ll continue to improve.”

St Mirren recorded their first ever top-six finish in the Premiership last season and Robinson’s side have continued their excellent form into the new campaign.

The Saints gaffer believes team spirit has been key to their success and insists everyone is striving to make the club better.

“The boys that came in took their chances today. I just think it’s the characters we’ve got in the squad, there’s a never-say-die attitude,” he added.

“When times are hard and you’re struggling you need to be able to look around and know you can trust the people next to you – I feel like the squad do that, they trust the staff and the people that we are trying to make the club better bit by bit within our means.”

Dundee boss Tony Docherty says his side must learn quickly after falling to their first defeat since promotion to the Premiership.

Zach Robinson missed a penalty during what was a well below-par showing from the Dark Blues in the first half.

They would put in a much improved display after the restart, but it was to be a case of too little too late.

“I felt we didn’t start the game well and St Mirren were by far the better team in the first half,” Docherty said.

“In the second half we changed the shape and we were really unlucky not to get a point and maybe even go on and win it if we’d got that second goal.

“I’ve got experience of this league, it’s punishing and if you don’t take your opportunities then it’ll come back and bite you – that happened today.

“We need to learn quick. In both games we’ve played, we’ve probably merited more points than we’ve taken.

“There’s a lot of boys it’s their first time playing in the Premier League, the positive to take is we’ve shown we are good enough.”

Page 1 of 2
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.