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St Mirren enjoyed a stable end to a season that threatened to derail spectacularly at one stage. Indeed, going unbeaten in their last four games and picking up eight points from a possible twelve assured the Buddies of another season in the SPFL after taking their overall tally to 44. As far as the immediate future goes, this will be an achievement that is celebrated as the summer begins and the fans breathe a sigh of relief. In the longer term, however, the question still remains as to how a club like St Mirren closes the gap on Scotland’s elite?

There are mountains to climb, and then there’s beating Celtic and Rangers

Actually, you could say that this is a question that most clubs ask when yet another SPFL season comes to an end and either Celtic or Rangers have unsurprisingly won the title. In fact, it has been an ongoing debate that has spanned the better part of three decades when you take into account that 1985 was the last time that a team other than Celtic or Rangers won the league. Perhaps most remarkably of all, is that despite the Scottish top flight being a two-horse race, it still remains one of the most captivating league spectacles in all of world football. Still, the question does persist: where would its global popularity stand if an outsider were able to loosen Celtic’s and Rangers’ relentless stranglehold on Scottish football, and more importantly, can St Mirren be the club to formulate the plan to do so? The short answer is that it is a tough road ahead for St Mirren if they wish to.

Having said that, the eternal optimist within you is inclined to think that the Buddies could and that it wouldn’t cost the world to do so either. Indeed, fans will look back at the 1985 season when Sir Alex Ferguson took Aberdeen to the title and laud the ability of a manager who can perform miracles without the help of a chequebook.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice

Whilst these phenomena do happen from time to time, they are very much the exception and not the rule in the world of football. We can look south of the border for the most recent example of a real-life footballing fairytale coming true after Leicester City won the English top-flight title in 2016. Before that season got underway, the Foxes were at 5000/1 to win the Barclays Premier League which goes to show just how much Claudio Ranieri’s men upset the odds. Crucially, however, long-term dominance would not be forthcoming and anyone who looks for the best football bet in the latest Premier League markets will see the outright odds for the 2022/2023 season, as of the 23rd of May, price Leicester at an outside 100/1 to win the title.

What this tells us is that after a year of inspired management from Ranieri, the King Power club were unable to build a dynasty owing to the fact that they didn’t have the financial resources of the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea that were needed to sustain an extended charge.

Essentially, this indicates that St Mirren, who are majority fan-owned, can’t expect to break the status quo of the Cinch Premiership – at least in the long term – without having a war chest to call on.

Buddies in safe hands

New Buddies boss Stephen Robinson knows this all too well and significantly, understands what it takes to steer clear of trouble without having a wealth of resources at his disposal.

Ultimately, this is why the St Mirren board made a responsible decision by handing the Northern Irishman the reins in February. Indeed, the 47-year-old has a reputation for getting the most out of a limited squad and that was evident as the club stabilized over the closing stages of the league to avoid the drop to the Championship.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>🗣️&quot;I think you&#39;re starting to see now what we&#39;re trying to do…&quot;<br><br>St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson reflects on the 2-0 win over Dundee👇<a href=”https://t.co/PHKmVIOgIV”>pic.twitter.com/PHKmVIOgIV</a></p>&mdash; Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) <a href=”https://twitter.com/SkySportsNews/status/1522986007456407557?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 7, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>