BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
St Mirren manager Ian Murray is adamant his in-form Buddies are capable of ending Rangers’ 100 per cent Championship record.
After a stuttering start to the season, the Paisley outfit have racked up four games undefeated, including a 1-1 draw away to Hibernian and, most recently, a hard-fought 1-0 win against Livingston.
However, the acid test of their recent resurgence will come in their upcoming run of games against Rangers, Falkirk and Hibs – starting with Sunday’s visit of the Gers.
And Murray is not shirking away from the challenge.
Murray said: “We are undefeated in four matches in all competitions – and Rangers need to lose at some point. We think we could be the team to do it.
“We have a really hard run of games coming up. Livingston was not easy and it’s the same against Rangers although, in a way, that might be easier because there is no motivation needed.
“It’s live on the telly against an undefeated Rangers, so the pressure is off us but we need to put on a good show for ourselves and our fans.”
Murray believes their ugly triumph against Livingston last Saturday has finally debunked any suggestions that his side are a soft touch after withstanding a late barrage from the Lions.
He continued: “Digging out results is a good trait to have because I think we have been labelled as ‘soft’ in certain areas. But in the last two games we have shown we can win with quality – and grind out an ugly three points.
“You can see the team spirit and togetherness we have created, which has come from the players willing to do the dirty work for each other.”
Meanwhile, the Buddies are set to be handed a double fitness boost ahead of Rangers’ visit, with on-loan Aberdeen attacker Lawrence Shankland and former Hibs and Dundee United man Keith Watson set to return from injury.
Murray added: “Lawrence [Shankland] wasn’t available against Livingston and Keith Watson failed a fitness test on the morning of the game with a hamstring strain.
“Lawrence has a very minor ankle worry so we are hopeful he will be ready to go on Sunday and Keith Watson will definitely be available.”