St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin lauded his side’s resolve after recording their third clean sheet in four home league games in the goalless draw against Hearts.
Only Borna Barisic’s stunning free-kick for Rangers has breached the Buddies’ rearguard in those fixtures and they boast the best defensive record in the league outside the Old Firm.
However, the Saints are also the lowest scorers in the league with a measly three goals in seven games, and boss Goodwin knows his side need to find the right balance.
“The hardest part of the game is to cut teams open and put the ball in the net, but that’s the difficulty that lots of clubs have,” he said.
“There is no denying the fact that we have the least amount of goals scored.
“It’s trying to get the balance between being organised and defensively hard to beat, but trying to get the bodies forward in the final areas.
“Defensively we’ve been great. It’s not just the back four because we defend as a unit. The guys up top are asked to do a lot of defending for the team, so on the flip side I can’t just point the finger at the strikers for not scoring goals.
“The guys at the back are just as responsible for scoring goals, but the strikers will get asked how many goals they’ve scored because that’s what their judged on.”
A draw was ultimately a fair result in a game where chances were at a premium.
The hosts thought they had opened the scoring after 23 minutes when Tony Andreu swept the ball past Joel Pereira, but it was correctly ruled out for offside by linesman Douglas Ross after deliberation with referee Andrew Dallas.
Hearts’ afternoon was overshadowed by a serious injury to stand-in captain Craig Halkett. The 24-year-old suffered a medial ligament injury after an innocuous challenge and is expected to be sidelined for months.
The pressure on Hearts manager Craig Levein has alleviated after a promising week, but he stressed it had taken its toll on his players.
“It’s been a physically and mentally tough week, but I was happy that we got better as the game progressed,” said Levein.
“I feel frustrated for the players because we put a lot into all three performances and I think in the last third today the tiredness showed at times with our decision making.
“I can’t fault them in all honesty because it’s difficult to break St Mirren down.”