David Martindale admitted it would not have been a surprise to anyone if his Livingston side were sitting bottom of the table going into their fourth match of the season against a St Mirren side he feels are “really unlucky” not to be two points clear at the top.
The Lions were handed a formidable start to their cinch Premiership campaign, with their first three games against sides that finished in the top five last term, two of them away from home.
Martindale’s men have managed to pick up four points, however, with an opening-day draw at home to Aberdeen followed by 4-0 defeat away to Rangers and a 3-2 victory away to Hibernian.
“I think on paper if we were on zero points three games in, I wouldn’t have been too downhearted,” said the Lions boss.
“That’s nothing to do with a lack of ambition, it’s down to being pragmatic. If we were to go to Easter Road and get beat, go to Ibrox and get beat and Aberdeen were to beat us at home, I don’t think there would be many pundits (surprised by that).
“So it’s great to be sitting here with four points. But all it is is a start. It means absolutely nothing. Saturday’s game is as big as the Rangers and Hibs games.
“I genuinely don’t focus too much on points on the board, I just look to the next game and how we can affect that.”
St Mirren, Livi’s opponents on Saturday, have taken seven points from their opening three games and they were only denied a maximum haul when Aberdeen equalised last Sunday with a penalty in the 10th minute of stoppage time.
Even then, there was doubt about whether Bojan Miovski’s spot-kick strike should have counted as he slipped and appeared to connect with the ball twice before it hit the net.
Martindale is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team when Stephen Robinson’s on-form side visit the Tony Macaroni Arena this weekend.
“Robbo’s been really unlucky,” said Martindale. “He was probably 30 seconds away from being top of the league.
“That tells you how good a team St Mirren are, and how good a coach Robbo and his staff are.
“You look at why they dropped two points last weekend, and it’s debatable if that should have happened, so they’ve been really, really unlucky to find themselves sitting second in the table, albeit they’ll be delighted where they are.
“I think they’ve been really unlucky, they should be sitting two points clear of every other team in this league. That puts this game into perspective and shows how hard it’s going to be.”