The fightback has to start somewhere – so let’s make it Dundee
Into the darkness, into Dundee. Little or no hope, but belief that today could be the day.
Well... tomorrow, if you catch my drift.
It doesn’t take me to tell you the importance of tomorrow’s game at Dens. It doesn’t take Oran Kearney, Stephen McGinn or anyone else to reaffirm just how significant a result either way could be for the remainder of St Mirren’s season.
We are preparing for week 13 – and it should ultimately be unlucky for some... unless it’s a draw.
Saints’ seven defeats on the spin can be qualified by an upturn in performances against the likes of Rangers and Celtic. But then again, performances are all well and good but without any points on the board the effort has been little more than futile.
Last year’s team were history boys for all the right reasons, this year the current crop of Saints are vying not to be the sinners as they begin to rival the history books for all the wrong reasons when it comes to losing runs.
But with every game comes opportunity.
It has, so far, been a case of whatever St Mirren can do, we will do worse when it comes to Dundee.
The boys from Dens Park hold the tag of being the only side that the Buddies have beaten all year – and that was way back in August.
Both sides have since got shot of the managers that they believed were bringing them down. But neither side has seen an improvement in the results column.
However, we have been here before where a positive run kick-started the revival to top all survivals.
Just two years ago, we got in our cars, boarded trains and jumped on supporters’ buses for the trip to Tayside in the Scottish Cup.
With little or no hope given to a side rooted to the foot of the Championship, Saints were rank outsiders for the clash, with one eye on simply turning their fortunes around when it came to the league.
But what followed was a stunning performance that many players in that squad, including Stevie Mallan and Gary Irvine, have pinpointed as the catalyst for the run that saw them beat the drop in the most dramatic of fashions.
Goals from John Sutton and Jack Baird handed the Paisley side clear passage to the next round of the Scottish Cup despite the odds being stacked against them before a ball was even kicked.
In truth, it could and should have been even more as the Saints produced their best performance of the season to dominate their opponents for large spells of the game.
In hindsight, the result, against Premiership opposition, was all the more remarkable when you look at the side Saints fielded.
O’Brien, Fjelde, Irvine, Baird, MacKenzie, Magennis (Whyte 74), Storie, Mallan, McAllister ( MacPherson 90), Morgan, Sutton (Clarkson 85).
Subs not used: Langfield, Webster, McLear and O’Keefe.
You could count the amount of games on one hand that Pal Fjelde and Craig Storie managed for St Mirren, Kyle McAllister and Kyle Magennis were 17 and 18 respectfully, while debuts for Darren Whyte and Cammy MacPherson were more out of neccessity than anything else.
Elsewhere, new boy Stelios Demetriou had to settle for a seat in the stand, with St Mirren still awaiting international clearance to play the Cypriot.
More importantly though, that day at Dens gave Saints the building blocks to piece together a similar season that had been fraight with issues since day one.
For 90 minutes, the woes of what had followed were forgotten, and the current Saints side have the opportunity to do the same tomorrow.
If the Buddies can finally click into gear then it could be the start of something.
It will be no less difficult than the last fight for survival that’s for sure, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Turning point St Mirren players celebrate Jack Baird’s second of the Scottish Cup clash at Dundee in January last year