Although it was disappointing to draw with St Mirren, I have to admit I wasn’t overly surprised because I feared we might suffer a bit of a hangover from the win over Aberdeen.
So much effort went into the League Cup game on Wednesday that there was always a danger of it taking a bit of an edge off us for the following match.
That’s the down side of having a great result against a Premiership team – too often it’s hard to sustain that level of performance when you come back to the bread-and-butter of your own league. I really fancied us to cause Aberdeen problems because we’ve tended to do well against the better teams over the past year or so. That victory proves we’ve got the ability in any one-off game to handle most sides, but, to be a genuine top team, you have to find a way of doing it consistently. You can’t keep slipping up against sides you’re expected to beat.
The St Mirren game was similar to so many last season where we dominated for long periods but were unable to take our chances. Teams will sit in against us, which can make it hard to find a way through, but we should really have the edge and quality to break them down. We simply have to be taking our opportunities when we’re on top.
Saturday’s result is not a fatal blow to our title hopes but it’s certainly not done us any favours. If we get back on the horse by winning at Queen of the South this weekend, then the St Mirren game can go down simply as a typical case of After The Lord Mayor’s Show. If we slip up again, though, people will start criticising again, the pressure will build on the club and the Aberdeen game will become a distant memory.
We need to make sure Saturday was just a one-off blip as we have very little margin for error – if any – left in the title race. We’ve responded to every setback so far, so hopefully that trend continues this weekend against a Queens side who will fancy their chances of overtaking us. It’s going to be a massive game for the players but they won there on their last visit and hopefully they’ll relish it and respond positively.