Buddie Banter: In-form St Mirren have self-belief needed to take on Rangers at Ibrox

If you could buy and sell self-belief, you could make an absolute fortune in football.

So much of the beautiful game comes down to a player’s confidence, in both themselves and their teammates.

It’s fair to say the Buddies are in no short supply of self-belief right now.

If anything, this is the most confident I’ve ever seen the Paisley side look since I started covering them on a daily basis back in September 2019.

Saturday’s last minute win against Livingston summed up just how much faith the Saints squad have in both their system and each other.

In recent years, when Bruce Anderson’s leveller hit the back of the net, particularly with the Paisley side already down to ten men, I’d have been preparing to turn my match report from a battling draw to a painful defeat.

But this crop of St Mirren players are made of sterner stuff.

Not content to sit back and invite pressure on to themselves, they took the game to the Lions - a move which stunned the visitors.

Scott Tanser almost bagged a brilliant winner from a free-kick, before Alex Greive put the finishing touches on Joe Shaughnessy’s effort to seal a hugely impressive three points.

It’s so important to be able to win ugly in football. You know you’re not going to play your best every week, as Stephen Robinson alluded to in his post-match press conference, but if you can keep points ticking over when out of sorts you’re on to a winner.

The Buddies have now picked up five wins in their last six matches.

That’s simply incredible form for a side many tipped to battling relegation this season.

As Ryan Flynn told the Paisley Daily Express this week the key to it all is Stephen Robinson and his counter-attacking system.

It might not win many beauty contests, but boy is it effective.

Flynn revealed the buy-in across the dressing room into Robinson’s vision for the club has been exceptional.

That’s easy to believe when you see just how hard the Saints players are working for each other.

It’s even more crystal clear when you see the likes of Joe Shaughnessy, Alex Greive and Flynn himself, who haven’t featured heavily so far this campaign, giving everything they can when they do finally get on the pitch.

Flynn’s assist for Keanu Baccus’ opener against Livi was sublime. The way Shaughnessy helped solidify the defence when backs were against the wall was exemplary. Greive’s finish on the turn was clinical.

The willingness to sacrifice for the greater good has clearly been both installed by Robinson and accepted by the players.

That’s a recipe for success and so far the points keep on rolling in.

Now comes a massive test of all this progress. Rangers at Ibrox.

There’s every chance tomorrow’s clash will be just too difficult for the Saints.

Gio van Bronckhorst’s side very rarely coughs up any points in the Premiership, especially at home.

But no one gave St Mirren a hope in hell of beating Celtic last month, and they did just that.

Moreover, it wasn’t a fluke - it was totally deserved.

Robinson’s system is designed to absorb pressure and then hit on the counter-attack, which is exactly the way the Paisley side have to play to try and topple the Old Firm.

It’s worked once already this season, so why can’t it again at Ibrox tomorrow?

One thing is for certain. This crop of St Mirren players don’t fear any side this season.

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Hopefully, that self-belief will see them returning home from Glasgow with even more points as they look to stretch their already impressive run at the start of the season.


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