St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin urged his players to set their sights higher than a relegation battle after scrapping their way to a narrow win over Livingston.
Jake Doyle-Hayes’ goal earned the Paisley side their first league victory since August and lifted them to within four points of seventh place in the Premiership table.
Saints have endured a difficult campaign with a number of coronavirus-related setbacks, but Goodwin believes he has a squad capable of beating anyone on their day.
He said: “We have to be looking up the table not down the way. I want the players to be in a positive mindset and believe, regardless of the opposition, that we are capable of winning.
“When I look at the squad I’ve got when everyone is fit and healthy, I’ve got great confidence in that group. (On Saturday) we showed a side of our game that really pleases me. We have good technical players in the team, but at times we’ve lacked a little bit of grit. And we showed that in abundance.
“It had 1-0 written all over it and I’m just grateful we were able to get that all-important goal.”
Doyle-Hayes has signed on a short-term deal after being released by Aston Villa and Goodwin reckons the timing has worked in Saints’ favour.
He added: “Jake is quality and we’ve been very lucky to get him. It’s a good bit of business from our point of view. We’re very fortunate to have him because of circumstances and finances at many clubs.
“A year ago we wouldn’t have got him as other teams would have snapped him up. He’s showing everyone what a good player he is. Apart from his goal his all-round play is very good and he’s not afraid to mix it either.”
Livingston had to do without goalkeeper Robby McCrorie after he tested positive for Covid-19 while on Scotland Under-21 duty. But manager Gary Holt did not want to point the finger at the Scottish Football Association.
He said: “Look, there is a worldwide pandemic going on. In March, I didn’t know anyone who’d had it. Now my brother’s had it, his fiancee’s had it, my uncle’s had it, my nephew’s had it. Everyone is getting it.
“Where did Robby get it? Nobody knows. That is why I don’t like to point fingers as I want players to go and experience international football.”