BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
St Mirren midfielder Scott Agnew insists he is in no doubt that manager Ian Murray will turn their season around after witnessing how he transformed Dumbarton.
Murray has endured a difficult start to life in Paisley, with the Buddies only clear of the Championship play-off relegation zone on goal difference after winning two out of their opening 13 matches.
Tonight’s televised derby clash with Renfrewshire rivals Morton gives Agnew and his team-mates a chance to finally get their campaign up and running following three successive defeats.
And Agnew, who was part of the Sons team that went from relegation fodder to play-off hopefuls under Murray, has backed the under-pressure Saints manager to work his magic again.
Agnew said: “I’m completely confident the gaffer will turn it around, the players are too.
“I’ve worked with him longer than most of the guys having been at Dumbarton and he did really well there.
“We were struggling before he came in and it was looking like we might get relegated from the Championship, he came in and there was a freshness about it and a different approach to training.
“It was just his general attitude and the standards that he sets.
“You had to raise your game to meet those standards otherwise you wouldn’t have been there.
“I think his standards are even higher now. At Dumbarton the aim was just to survive in the league but at St Mirren it’s completely different.
“We should be up challenging for the play-offs.
“I’m sure, starting on Friday, that we can start turning things around for ourselves and him.
“It’s a great game for us and all the boys are looking forward to it.”
The international break has allowed the players to get used to a new face on the training ground after hugely experienced and respected coach Alex Miller replaced Mark Spalding as Murray’s number two in the wake of their recent 3-0 defeat to Falkirk.
Agnew insists Miller, who was part of the coaching staff under Rafa Benitez when Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005, has already made a good impression on the training pitch.
He added: “Alex is making his points, he’s come in and he’s got great knowledge of the game.
“He’s got great experience as well. He’s given a lot of info to the boys in training all week.
“We’ll go in with a game plan and hopefully we can get three points.”
Successive defeats to Rangers, Falkirk and Hibs has left the Saints fans fearing that they will not be returning to the top-flight any time soon following May’s relegation.
The Buddies are 12 points adrift of fourth-placed Morton but Agnew still harbours hopes of finishing in the play-offs
He added: “It’s a massive game, we’re under no illusions – we know that.
“We hope this can trigger a good run for us, it’s a big game and there is no bigger one to win with it being a derby.
“The fans will turn out in their numbers, our home form has been really poor and we need to put that right to give the fans something to shout about.
“I wish I knew the answer for why our home form has not been as good.
“We’ve been decent on our travels but it’s just not clicked at home.”