Tony Fitzpatrick reckons staving off relegation from the Scottish Championship would be the biggest achievement in St Mirren's proud history.

The Saints chief executive was past of the St Mirren squad which lifted the Scottish Cup at Hampden 30 years ago but he insists that survival would eclipse silverware at the end of a tumultuous season.

The rejuvenated Paisley team now have their destiny in their own hands after a sparkling run which has dragged them off the foot of the table and into eighth place with just three games to play.

The first of those crunch encounters comes against Dundee United this weekend. The Saints beat the tangerines in that 1987 Cup Final but Fitzpatrick believes a successful salvage operation, which he hopes continues in the City of Discovery, would top that triumph.

He said: “I'm not exaggerating, but if we escape this then it will be beyond what we achieved with the Scottish Cup because if you go down to that other league, that is oblivion to us as a club.

“No disrespect to the teams that are already down there but to St Mirren, we just don't want to even think about that. There are still three hard games to go but you would like to think we could do it because you see the momentum and you see the way the team is playing.

“If we escape this, then it is one the best things in our history as a club. It would be a miracle. If we are being totally honest, there were times when we were all in despair. I'm a very positive person but I looked at the situation and I thought we were down. But then Jack did his magic. The next three weeks are massive for the club.”

St Mirren’s rousing renaissance – they have won six of their last 10 games in the league – has been a real eye opener and the style of football has been pretty eye-catching too.

Fitzpatrick, 61, added: “From the 1987 team to the team we have just now, I must admit I really enjoy watching this team. I really enjoyed playing in the ‘87 team but the team we have just now makes me really enjoy my football. I'm enjoying going to the games.

“Usually when you are in a relegation scrap, it is just sitting behind the ball and making it difficult for teams in order to try and steal a goal but for us this season it has been totally different. We have been really exciting to watch. Every team that we have played has been impressed by us. Neil Lennon said it before the Celtic game when we beat Hibs. He said we were the best team before Brendan Rodgers did.”

This cultured approach on the pitch is being mirrored of it as Paisley continues its push to be UK City of Culture in 2021.

And Fitzpatrick, with his deep roots in the town, certainly believes the feel-good factor, in a wider sense, is returning to this neck of the woods.

He said :“I think there is a real positive nature about the club now and I think everyone is starting to feel that and that generates from the manager. The supporters have bought into that and they can see the club is really trying to move forward.

“I go back to the time of Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson) and that's the feeling I get about this team around the town. That is down to the team but I also think the Paisley 2021 City of Culture bid has helped make the place feel a good place to be just now.”