Jim Goodwin admits he’d love to go into next weekend’s League Cup semi-final on the back of a morale-boosting win over St Johnstone.
And the Buddies boss is hoping the players’ determination to impress and bag a spot in his starting XI for the Hampden showpiece will give them plenty of motivation to maintain their impressive run.
St Mirren travel to Perth this afternoon hoping to put six points between them and their hosts in the Premiership table.
While he knows it’s sometimes difficult to concentrate with a massive match around the corner, he believes his players will stay focused on the task in hand.
“It’s obviously a huge game coming up against Livingston,” Goodwin told Express Sport.
“It would be great to go into the semi-final on the back of a positive result and performance.
“For me it’s about trying to keep the players focused on the next game, that’s the hard part. I’ve been there myself as a player, and even now as a manager, it’s hard not to think about it from time to time.
“Of course there’s real competition for places as well, so the lads who are lucky enough to be in the starting XI on Saturday will be staking a claim to be starting the game against Livingston.
‘Unfortunately Jake Doyle-Hayes will miss out on the semi-final through suspension, so that opens up a position for someone else.
“We will try and maintain our focus on St Johnstone and give them the respect they deserve.
“We don’t want to be going into the semi-final off the back of a poor performance and a poor result.
“I want us to maintain our good run of form, only two defeats in 16 which is an incredible run for any team. Hopefully come Saturday night it will be two defeats in 17!”
Goodwin is hoping to hand a debut to new striker Collin Quaner at McDiarmid Park, with fellow recent signing Eamonn Brophy also expected to feature.
The Buddies boss sees the former Huddersfield Town forward as more of a wide option, but admits his versatility will come in handy over the rest of the season.
He said: “We’ve mainly been playing 4-3-3 this season and the guys who’ve been right and left of the number nine in the middle aren’t necessarily wingers – they can play a little narrower and that’s where I would see Collin.
“He won’t give us real natural width on that side, but having players who can play in a number of positions is always helpful and I’m very fortunate that I have that.
“I have quite a few who can play in midfield or at centre-half. Ryan Flynn can play in any position on the park, quite frankly.
“You need to be able to adapt as a player nowadays. The kind of team we are we sometimes need to adapt formation with the way the game is going. You need intelligent and versatile footballers to be able to do that.”
There has been an increased focus on football players celebrating goals too closely as coronavirus cases have continued to rise across the UK.
Goodwin is sceptical of the difference it will make to tell players not to overdo their post-goal congratulations, but insists he will ensure the message is passed on to his troops.
He added: “It’s not something we have mentioned before this week. I saw an email from the JRG (Joint Response Group) after training that suggested we refrain from celebrations. Is it going to have that big an impact? I don’t know.
“There’s people far more qualified than I am and if that’s what the scientists and health department suggest then that’s what we will do.
“We will try and refrain from showing emotion when we score goals because that’s what happens. The lads area all excited and want to congratulate the guy that’s put the ball in the back of the net.
“At corners and free kicks players are all over each other and there’s 22 men running by each other during games, so there’s constant contact all the time.
“Is it going to make much of a difference if two or three lads give a guy a high five or a hug? I’m not convinced. But if that’s what they ask us to do, then that’s fine.”