Stephen Robinson: Pressure is off for St Mirren despite European push

After securing a top six place, Saints are pushing to qualify for Europe.

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson says his players can head into the post-split fixtures free from pressure despite having ambitions of qualifying for Europe.

The Paisley side secured a second consecutive top six place under Robinson – the first time they’ve achieved that since 1985 – and currently sit in fifth place with five games to go.

Last weekend’s Scottish Cup results mean that league position would now bring the reward of a place in the Europa Conference League qualifers.

St Mirren haven’t played in European competition since 1987 and while qualifying would be a landmark moment for Robinson and his players, they face a fight for that spot with Dundee sitting just two points behind in the table.

The manager says that the primary objective was just to reach the top half and having done that, his team can play with freedom.

“There is absolutely no pressure on us,” he said. “We achieved what we set out to achieve but we have got into this position where European football is within our grasp and we have to believe we can do that and we do.

“We believe we are in a good position and we can get results against the other top-six sides and cement our position.

“So as much as the pressure is off, the players can relax but we know our ultimate goal is to get that European spot.”

Robinson says he can’t wait to get started, with St Mirren playing host to Rangers on Sunday. But he is hoping his side can improve on last year’s post-split results when they only managed to take two points from five games.

He revealed that Europe had been a target since the start of the season as the team look to build year on year.

“This season we set out to get top six but within the dressing room we set out to get Europe because you are always looking to be better than last season,” he said.

“So now the mood is we are at the start of these five games to achieve our European goal so we are very much looking forward to that challenge.”

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