St Mirren 'can play without pressure' after achieving top-six goal

The Paisley side are now aiming for a European place after securing top six spot.

Stephen Robinson insists St Mirren can play the rest of the season without pressure after securing a top-half place for the second season in a row.

It is the first time in 39 years that Paisley side have finished in the top-six in two consecutive campaigns and the manager says it is an “incredible achievement”.

But they won’t be resting on their laurels for the remaining games as they look to go one better than last season by getting into Europe.

The Saints are currently in fifth spot, five points behind fourth placed Kilmarnock and four ahead of sixth placed Dundee, as they go in to their last six games.

Fourth spot would guarantee a European place and fifth could potentially also reach Europe if one of the top three, who are all in the semi-finals, win the Scottish Cup.

Robinson, whose side face a trip to Celtic Park on Saturday in the last game before the league splits, is aiming to improve on the two points they won after the split last season and enjoy the end to the season.

Speaking on Friday, he said: “We are looking forward to it, ultimately that was our aim to try and back up what we done the season before and it’s an incredible achievement for the group of boys we have and the staff.

“Now it’s about kicking on, we don’t want to rest on our laurels, we have no right to be anywhere near Europe with our resources but we have got ourselves in this position again for the second year in a row and we will have a right go at it.

“We only got two points after the split last season, so it’s a case of can you better that, can you beat the team that finishes in sixth place when the split finally gets decided, and can you push on and try to catch Kilmarnock.

“The teams above are above us by a few points, so you have to start beating each other to get back in to contention, but we are in a potential European spot at the moment and it is up to us to go and kick on and enjoy.

“We are under absolutely no pressure, nobody should really expect what we have done even though it has raised the expectations at this football club but we are in a position now to go and play without fear and enjoy the rest of the season.”

Robinson says they are bracing themselves to lose some of their best players in the summer and admits it will be hard to stand in their way if the right offer comes in that St Mirren will be unable to compete with financially.

But they have offered some big hitters, including Alex Gogic, Keanu Baccus and Ryan Strain, new deals.

He said: “We have offered four or five different players new contracts, there is only a certain level we can go to and we have offered the very best level we can for Keanu Baccus, Ryan Strain and Alex Gogic among others, we have made them offers, they are boys that will give absolutely everything.

“If they decide to leave, that is absolutely within their right and I understand that because there is only a certain amount of money we can offer people to get them to stay and I can’t question any of them because they are all fully committed to what we are trying to do, so that will be their decision and we will have to look and make plans elsewhere.”

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