Robinson hoping to take step towards Europe in 100th game at St Mirren

The Saints have a chance to go five points clear of Dundee this weekend in the fight for Europe.

Stephen Robinson is hoping to take a big step towards European football for next season as he prepares for his 100th game in charge of St Mirren.

The Paisley club have a chance to open up a five point gap to sixth placed Dundee this weekend when they travel to Dens Park.

It has been 37-years since the Saints last played in Europe when they took part in the Cup Winners’ Cup away back in 1987, but a win over Tony Docherty’s men on Saturday would see a place in next season’s Conference League qualifiers come within touching distance going into the last three games.

However, a defeat in Dens would see them leapfrogged by the home side and drop out of the European places.

They also arrive in Tayside off the back of four defeats and a draw from their last five games, and Robinson admits they might need to win ugly to get over the line.

Speaking to the media on Friday, the manager said: “They’re all big games now aren’t they? That’s what you want to be in the top-six for, to play against the best teams in the country over the course of the season, so we are looking forward to it.

“We want the level of performance that we have produced over the last three of four games, but with an end product to it that we haven’t got over the last three or four games.

“It’s only three points on the line, but obviously with them being directly below us and with a chance to further ahead it makes it very important, but there would be no use in winning this game and then losing the next three so there’s still a lot to play for and a lot of points to play for.”

Robinson, who had a three-year spell as Motherwell manager between 2017 and 2020, returned to Scotland to take the St Mirren job after leaving English League One side Morecambe in 2022.

He has had 99 games at the Paisley club since and has guided them to back-to-back top-six finishes.

And while he insists his full focus is on getting a win at Dens this weekend, he admits there will likely be another rebuild ahead of next season with around five or six starting players from this season set to depart in the summer.

When asked about his 100th game at the club, he said: “I didn’t know that until around 30 seconds ago, it seems like it’s gone very quickly so I’ve obviously enjoyed myself. To achieve top-six two years in a row when it had been so long since the last time since we done that, is an absolute credit to the players and the staff.

“The club has grown, a lot of good things have been put in place and we want to keep it growing and to try and sustain the top-six position or at least make it more viable.

“So, yeah, it’s been enjoyable but we want to finish the job for this season.

“When I first came in, we had losses and everything was being ripped up to start again but as soon as we steadied out, which is a credit to the board, then we started building things on the pitch, and once we had recruited I was confident in the players we had recruited.

“Nobody really knew the players we brought in, or of they did they didn’t think they were good enough, so it’s nice they came in and have done very well.

“So is it a surprise? No not really, not with what we’ve got in the dressing room.

“I don’t think I’ll get to a 1,000 games, no chance of that, the games changed now I think most of the guys who get to a 1,000 games have started out earlier than me, but who knows in football, it could only be one more game rather than a 1,000 more games, you never know.

“You don’t get too much credit in football. Ultimately we have to finish this season off well and achieve what we’ve set out to do, which is get into Europe, then next season will be a new season and we’ll need to go again.

“There will be a little bit of a rebuild, we’ll lose five or six starters from our team, because they’re either going back from a loan or just outgrowing the football club in terms of finances and it will be up myself and the recruitment department that we get that right again.”

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