Paisley are not home to an abundance of elite football sides. This is why the town’s love for its own St. Mirren can hardly be described to anyone outside of Renfrewshire. The pride of the city actually has a reputable tradition, a 144-year-long one. The team was founded back in 1877 and have managed to win some domestic trophies and represent the country in influential continental competitions in the process.

Four appearances in the continental competitions

In terms of the United Kingdom and Scotland, St. Mirren are minnows. After all, you can hardly expect more from a side located in a town. With a population of 77,220, Paisley do not have city status. Now imagine a team battling heavyweights such as Celtic and Rangers and staying competitive on some occasions.

They say the love for a club situated in a smaller area is much greater than the love for the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Celtic, etc. Only the residents of these towns that are lucky enough to have a competitive elite-class side can feel the experience and understand the point here.

St. Mirren have never won the Premiership, but they did manage to win the Scottish Cup three times and the League Cup once, as reported by The last of their trophies came in 2013 when saw off Hearts 3-2 at Hampden Park to claim the inaugural League Cup silverware, the first trophy since 1987. The aforementioned cup successes have led St. Mirren to three UEFA Cup and one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup appearances. They failed to leave a significant mark in these continental campaigns, but the mere fact the Saints managed to get there was more than enough to make the entire town proud.

The third straight elite tier campaign

St. Mirren made their town proud once again in 2018 when they won the Championship title to secure the promotion to the top flight of Scottish football. Despite the limited budget (when compared to the vast majority of the league), the Buddies have managed to avoid the drop to the lower division ever since.

They entered the third consecutive top-flight campaign in September 2020, and are currently on the best way to secure another Premiership season. Last time around, the team led by Jim Goodwin (took charge in June 2019), the Buddies ended the regular season at the ninth position (out of twelve outfits). The year before, they were rescued at the death, edging past Dundee United on penalties (1-1 on aggregate) in the relegation play-offs.

On a safe distance from the red zone at the moment

Midway through the season, it seems that a miracle should happen for the Buddies to be dropped to the Championship. They have three games in hand on the rock-bottomed Ross County and as many as six points advantage after 20 rounds. As a matter of fact, St. Mirren occupy the 8th position in the Premiership standings at the moment, sitting just three points shy of Dundee United in the sixth (with two games in hand). The Championship post-season round is thus much closer than the relegation battle. Can the Saints push it harder in the last third of the regular campaign to finish on top of Kilmarnock and Dundee United?

The rock-solid defense as the main basis for success

Jim Goodwin has managed to keep the core of the last year’s team. The chemistry can hardly be at a higher level and high spirits in the locker room can certainly be recognized on the pitch. St. Mirren may not be the most exciting attacking outfit in the division, but their rock-solid defense is capable of keeping hold of almost any side in the competition.

The Buddies have conceded no more than 23 goals in 20 matches so far in the campaign. They tend to play much better on the road where the team has snatched four of their six wins. The Buddies kept three clean sheets in the last five away outings in the league, beating the likes of Livingston, Motherwell, and Ross County along the way.

A new cup trophy in sight?

The most remarkable moment of the season for Jim Goodwin and his troops came in mid-December when they shocked Steven Gerrard’s Rangers to knock them out of the League Cup. Jamie McGrath completed a brace on the occasion, while centre-back Conor McCarthy bagged the stoppage-time winner to confirm the sensation and send his team to the semi-final of the competition.

St. Mirren have previously defeated Aberdeen 2-1 in the last 16 round of the competition. Next up are Livingston in the semi-final, a match in which the Buddies will almost certainly not enter as underdogs based on everything we’ve witnessed from them so far in the season.