St Mirren manager Jack Ross has expressed his delight at the mental and physical strength of his side as they gear up to take on high-flying Livingston in Paisley tonight.

The Saints ground out an impressive three points in difficult conditions in Inverness at the weekend, and Ross reckons that his players showed a different, grittier side to their game.

And he is hoping for more of the same tonight as his team look to move back to the Championship summit with a win over David Hopkin's men.

“We know we are coming into an important period, and this week is a challenging week, but between now and the beginning of January we have a lot of games and that can determine your season,” said Ross.

“We want to be where we’ve been for the majority of the season so far. The players had to show a different side [against Inverness], a side I’ve asked questions of them to go and show. They did that, and I’m delighted that they got their reward.

“To show enough physical strength to deal with the conditions, and then enough mental strength to deal with the opposition with the run they’ve been on, to win the game was brilliant.

“Because we’re such a young group, there’s two challenges we have. There’s the challenge of dealing with it mentally being at the top and going to difficult venues, and then there’s the physical challenge, and in both aspects they were very good."

Ross thinks that the recent short respite from the hectic Championship schedule allowed his men to get back to basics, after their standards had dropped somewhat in the preceding weeks.

“We had a little break and that was good for us to reinforce some of the messages that we tried to get home in the first quarter, because it had dipped a little bit," he said.

“It was a day because of how tight the top part of the league is, a bad result could have had consequences and we could have dropped several places.

“For us to win, which is the only thing we can control, was great.

“I’m pleased for the players and it sets us up nicely for the rest of the week.”

Ross was also pleased that two of his key players who have recently returned to action from long-term injury came through the test of a heavy pitch in awful conditions, and he praised both Kyle Magennis and Harry Davies for their performances.

Davies will be assessed before tonight’s match against Livi though, with Ross wary of asking the central defender to do too much too soon after such a long period out.

“I thought that the second half was the best I’ve seen Kyle since he came back,” said Ross. “In the first half, we needed more from him, and in the second half that’s what we got from him the whole of last season.

“That’s why I rate him so highly and like him so much.

“It’s testament to Harry’s conditioning levels and how he has looked after himself while he’s been out that he’s been able to handle playing for 90 minutes.

“We’ll look at him for during the week because he is only just back from eight months out, but I’m delighted he played a part in a clean sheet and that his partnership with Jack continued to grow at Inverness, because I thought Jack was terrific for us.”