Ross County manager Jim McIntyre has rubbished suggestions St Mirren are doomed to Scottish Premiership relegation.
McIntyre believes Hibernian’s fall last season and his team’s stirring revival in the current campaign provide proof enough the embattled Buddies can spring a recovery.
With just three matches left to the split, Saints – who tackle champions Celtic on Friday – are seven points adrift of resurgent County and four below second bottom Motherwell.
The Staggies have been unstoppable of late, while the Fir Park outfit has picked up vital wins against Caley Thistle and Hamilton. St Mirren, in contrast, are toiling on a damaging run of five defeats from seven.
After Celtic, the Paisley club square up to both their nearest relegation foes Motherwell and County.
McIntyre is happy the Dingwall club’s fate now lies in its own hands after impressive performances, but rubbished prevalent talk of Saints already being doomed.
The former Dunfermline and Queen of the South manager said: “If people think St Mirren are dead and buried that’s absolute rubbish. We were six points behind not so very long and some probably thought we were gone, but we have gone on a run.
“St Mirren can do the same because they have players who can hurt teams, so it’s a long way from being over.
“Look at Hibs last season. Nobody thought they were in any danger and then they lost in the play-off to Hamilton.
“That’s a great reminder because they looked safe but they kept tumbling – and that’s something all four teams at the bottom will be looking back at. There’s still a long way to go and loads of points to play for. Nobody is going to hand you safety, we have to scrap for it all the way.
“If we keep producing the kind of performances we have been then we’ll give ourselves a great chance. But we need to go out and do it in our games.”
County, who had managed just two victories by mid-February, now have seven to their name having swept aside a clutch of teams since a 4-0 battering at the hands of Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
McIntyre, then, would have preferred to keep playing through the international break, but valued the respite in helping clear up one or two niggling injuries.
With eight games to go, he is urging County’s now-settled group to pick up where they left off.
The County boss manager: “Things are in our own hands, but the picture can change quickly so we are not getting ahead of ourselves.
“The teams below us are more than capable of picking up victories so there’s a long way to go.
“There were a lot of games before we went on the run, where we were not too far away. Apart from one or two games where we didn’t perform, we were always in games and I could see the the spirit.”
County rang the changes during the January transfer window and McIntyre added: “We added some fresh faces and since then have been able to pick the same side. That has been crucial because for the first time we were able to name the same team for four games in a row. What that’s done is given us a bit of consistency and also thrown a challenge down to the players who are not playing.
“There is competition for places there and that’s always healthy.”