ST MIRREN boss Jack Ross has played down the pressure on his team after they missed the opportunity to win the Scottish Championship.
Billy King’s early strike was enough to give Dundee United a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Buddies, who need just a point to seal the title and a return to the top flight.
It was a first defeat in seven for Saints – a run that stretches back to mid-February – and they were not at their best at Tannadice despite hitting the woodwork twice in the first period.
They still have four games to seal their return back to the Premiership, starting at home to Livingston on Saturday, and Ross was keen to play down any suggestion that it could be viewed as a nervous performance from his team.
“I think with the manner of the performance, people here won’t think we looked like a nervous team,” he said.
“This team has dealt with worse pressure than that last year in trying to stay in the league.
“They have dealt with the pressure of trying to win this league from day one and then dealt with it for a long time being at the top of the league, so I don’t have any qualms over their ability to handle that and I don’t think it was reflected.”
St Mirren are currently top of the table by 12 points – a dramatic turnaround from last season when they were left fighting relegation – but ultimately missed their chance to complete their promotion charge against a dogged United side.
Despite the defeat, Ross was not downhearted and is confident they can get the job done before the end of the season.
He said: “Tonight was our first opportunity, and that’s passed us by but we will dust ourselves down.
“We have four more, three at a home venue that we have only lost once at in 14 months and that’s not a bad position to be in, I will take it.”
There was a brief exchange of words between the opposing dugouts following the final whistle after Tangerines boss Csaba Laszlo appeared to take umbrage at something said in his direction.
Ross commented: “He said something to one of my members of staff which is not appropriate and not my cup of tea.
“There were no words exchanged with me, I just made it clear that what he said to my staff is not acceptable.”
Laszlo replied: “He has to look first at his team. I think we must be fair to each other and I didn’t talk badly. He has to ask his own person what he said.
“He is a young manager with emotion but I don’t think what happened is worth talking about.
“I didn’t say anything inappropriate, what he told me, I told him back.”
On the game, he added: “We showed pride tonight to make sure St Mirren didn’t celebrate winning the league at our stadium. I am fair and wish St Mirren all the best.
“It looks like they will win the league and go into the Premiership. I just hope that maybe we will meet next season.”
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