St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson would gladly swap league positions with Hearts counterpart Robbie Neilson, who finds himself under the spotlight again ahead of Saturday’s clash at Tynecastle.
The Gorgie side are in third place in the cinch Premiership behind Celtic and Rangers with three fixture remaining before the split.
The former Hearts defender has been criticised by sections of the Jambos’ fan base following a run of six defeats in nine matches over the past two months – and four straight defeats most recently – which has cut their lead to one point over Aberdeen with the Paisley side a further three points behind.
Last Sunday, following the 2-1 defeat away to Kilmarnock, a mosaic of the club badge outside Tynecastle was defaced with graffiti which read “f*** off Neilson”.
While the Buddies boss is excited by the challenge of a top-six finish, he considered Neilson’s situation and said: “It is a crazy job that we are in, a crazy industry.
“Hearts are sitting third. I would like to do a swap with Robbie.
“Nothing surprises me in football anymore but we have to concentrate solely on St Mirren.
“I can’t worry about anything else or any noise around the game. It is what we do, how we cope with Hearts’ threats.
“Let’s make no mistake, they are a very good side with very good players and they have had a very good season.
“Everyone hits sticky patches throughout the season. We have to just concentrate on ourselves and what we can get out of the game.
“I am reading absolutely nothing into their form. It is a tough game.
“It is a team full of talent, a team with very good players and we have to be at the top of our game to get a result.
“What happened previously doesn’t count for anything on Saturday.
“What I do know is they have a fantastic group of players, a brilliant stadium to go to play at and a very good manager in Robbie.”
Former Hearts striker Tony Watt, who scored his first St Mirren goal in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Livingston since joining on loan from Dundee United in January, backs Neilson, whom he played under at Tynecastle.
He said: “Robbie is a good manager, a good coach and a good guy. They are doing well, okay they maybe had a couple of bad results but it is not right for him to be called out for his job.
“He is third in the league, if you take away Celtic and Rangers – nobody else is going to win the league, let’s be honest – he is one of the best of the rest.
“They still have a right good chance to finish third. I think he’s doing a great job.”
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