JOHN HUGHES saw Falkirk escape relegation in a last-day shoot-out with Inverness Caley Thistle and is prepared for a nerve-shredding final-game decider again with Raith Rovers.
The Stark’s Park outfit dropped into the relegation play-off spot in the Championship with St Mirren’s 4-1 hammering of Morton on Tuesday night.
Now a point behind the Buddies and two adrift of Dumbarton in seventh, the Kirkcaldy club face a massive battle to retain their second-tier status and will host basement boys Ayr United in their final outing of a tortuous campaign.
And Hughes is hopeful his struggles with Falkirk in 2009, when the Bairns got the win they needed to send opponents Inverness down, can help him steer Rovers to safety.
He said: “I fought relegation with Falkirk once and it went right down to the last game of the season.
“We beat Inverness to stay in the league and the next again week we were in the Scottish Cup final [against Rangers].
“It’s just about standing tall and showing your colours.
“It’s a good experience, I think you’re better for those kinds of experiences.
“You can get frustrated and go blaming others but you just have to look after yourselves.
“You have to try to enjoy it. Can you enjoy it? It doesn’t really matter, we’ll do what we have to do to go toe to toe with people to get a result.”
Rovers face Morton on Saturday having tasted victory just twice in their last 23 matches.
But they are unbeaten in four home matches since Hughes took over in February.
And the former Hibs and Inverness boss is hopeful a siege mentality can help scrape his side to survival.
He added: “You have to trust each other. You have to look over your shoulder in the tunnel and say ‘I’m glad he’s in my team’.
“They need to stick together and stand strong and show a real solidarity – and that goes with the supporters – to say ‘okay’ and stand up to the fight.
“I’m sure it will go down to the last day but hopefully we can get the victories we need.
“You have to have a strong mental mindset to go and handle it and we have to win games to make sure we keep our status in the Championship.
“That adds a bit of pressure but it has to inspire you, and hopefully that will be the case on Saturday.
“It’s not nice but we are where we are and we have to embrace it and try to do something about it. If it affects you then you’re better staying in the dressing room.”