St Mirren manager Jack Ross insists the Buddies do not intend on being cannon fodder in Sunday’s glamour Scottish Cup quarter-final clash at Celtic.
The odds are stacked against the Championship basement side causing a mammoth shock against a rampaging Hoops team that are 27 points clear at the Premiership summit.
But the Paisley outfit are enjoying a renaissance under Ross and Wednesday’s memorable victory over Hibs has given Saints, who have won their last four games in all competition, fresh hope that they can avoid relegation.
He said: “It’s a brilliant game for us, it’s a Scottish Cup quarter-final and we’re two games away from the final.
“They have to have the belief that they can go there and win the game.
“It’s a mammoth task, it’s as difficult a challenge you will get in this country because of the form they’re in and us being away from home.
“We’ve got energy, pace and creativity in our team and there is no point in not using that.
“We’ll try and use that on Sunday, it’s not going to be easy at times.
“But I’ll have always have belief in my players and I’ll have belief that we can go and win the game.
“With the form they’re in and the way they’re playing, they have to go there with belief.”
Ross, who has already been to Celtic on Betfred Cup duty this season after his Alloa side frustrated Brendan Rodgers’ for 83 minutes before losing two late goals, added: “I’ve been there in a cup competition this year and I know what they’re capable of but we’ll go with a game plan and we’ll go and be positive.”
Ross will look to captain Stephen McGinn to inspire the Buddies against Celtic after hailing the former Watford player’s influence since recruiting his one-time team-mate in January.
Ross added: “He is somebody that I played with in his first time here and it was the only reason really we got him to the club because of the relationship I’ve got with him and his family.
“He wanted to come back and play for me and he wanted to come back and play for this club. I don’t think he should be playing in the Championship, he has shown that since he’s come back. He’s always been a good player and I think the experiences of the Championship in England have made him even better.
“He’s been outstanding and he’s thriving after taking on the armband, he’s got a real desire to take this club forward.”
Ross has been delighted with his side’s recent form after making ten new signings in January.
He added: “The character has been immense in recent times and they are starting to come together as a group.
“With so may changes they’ve had to do it quickly but there is a really good feeling and balance amongst them.”