Having watched both Dundee United and St Mirren at the weekend, it’s clear that the Paisley men are the stronger team and over two games should have enough.

But as with Livingston a year ago and Hamilton five years back, the Championship teams can win at this stage. This is no certainty.

St Mirren have got some confidence. This has been their best form of the season. They scored three goals in the second-half at Dens Park – an excellent Cody Cooke hat-trick – and if they play with the same attacking flair then they will cause problems for United’s defence.

Thursday’s game at Tannadice is going to be intriguing. If Dundee United are to get back into the Premiership, the need to win you would think, as it would give them something to hang onto for Sunday’s return.

But I'm backing the Buddies.


Well, yes, it is, but it’s also key in football and St Mirren have it.

One defeat in nine games, and that was against Celtic, means that perhaps for the first time since the play-off was introduced, the team finishing eleventh in the Premiership actually feel good about themselves.

“We drew 2-2 away at Aberdeen has been the biggest turnaround,” said St Mirren defender Jack Baird. “Since then we have gone to Hearts to Livingston and since then we have played our best football.

“We have only lost one game to Celtic and so that record isn’t too bad.We have done well especially since we never had a great start.

“We are away on Thursday and it will be mental at their bit and it will be the same at our place on Sunday. It will all come down to who keeps their head. It is just a game of football and we just need to take it like it is.”


Even if the likable Northern Irishman can keep St Mirren up, there is a feeling that he’ll return to his own country with Coleraine making noises about him becoming their manager.

No matter what, St Mirren mist learn from their mistakes. The decision last summer when Alan Stubbs was appointed to break up a Championship winning team and sign played simply not good enough for the level they were asked to perform at won’t be repeated.

St Mirren are not a great team and don’t claim to be. However, there is talent there and with some clever recruitment, establishing themselves in the top tier is not beyond this football club.


Strange as it may seem, it did feel on Saturday that he players and those inside the club see this season as a chance to start again.

Paul McGowan, the Dundee playmaker, was keen to stress that for the first time in a long time, there are signs that the club knows what it wants to be.

He said: “I love the club, they have stood by me through thick and thin and I just want to see us move forward. We need a bit of stability, to see the kids coming through.

“We know we can’t go into the Championship with seven or eight kids – it would be impossible to get out of there as we have seen how hard it has been for United.

“It is going to be tough but if we can get that mixture right and that freshness at the club, we can move forward, putting this season behind us.

“We all know it has been shambolic from everybody who has been involved including managers and players – it has not sat right with me all season.

“I have not been anywhere near it either. There is only one player who got pass marks and that’s Nathan Ralph. But it is done now and we just need to move forward with as I said a bit of stability.

“If Jazz (James McPake) gets the manager’s job, I will be delighted. It is the club’s decision to make but with that there he has done himself no harm whatsoever.”

McPake would be a popular choice. He’s stood in since Jim McIntyre was sacked and clearly fancies the job.

He said: I wanted a taste of it two years ago. I believe in a way or working, I have a lot of people to advise me and I've got my own ideas. I think apart from the result, it's worked this week.

“It's been so hectic – it's been mad but a good mad. What I've missed is the day-to-day pressure of first-team football.

“I've enjoyed being back in proper football. The Under-18s and reserves is great but today was proper football and I've not had it since I got injured out there against United. The only way I could have bettered the experience was if we'd won the game.


The Irishman is a funny bloke, good pro and someone that nobody has a bad word to say about.

He was last man when he pulled down Brad Lyons so it was a straight red. Ach, but it was hard to feel for the now retired defender.