Stephen Robinson marks 100 games as St Mirren boss with Euro crunch while two Buddies face injury heartache

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson
St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson -Credit:SNS Group

Stephen Robinson will today celebrate his 100th match as St Mirren boss in arguably the club’s biggest game for 11 years.

The Northern Irishman took over at the SMiSA Stadium in February 2022 and now stands a handful of points away from leading the Buddies to Europe for the first time since 1987.

Robbo’s troops head for Tayside and a huge showdown with Dundee at Dens Park this afternoon backed by a black-and-white army in excess of 1,800 fans.

Victory will send fifth-placed Saints five points clear of the Dark Blues in the Premiership with just nine left to play for this season.

Not since the 2013 League Cup final at Hampden – when Saints beat Hearts 3-2 – have the club been so close to such significant success.

“I didn’t realise it was 100 games so I must have enjoyed it,” smiled Robinson. “It’s a game that you can’t underestimate the size of it. It’s your job to build it up and it’s my job to play it down because I want the players to go in and relax.

“Ultimately, we’re not stupid. We know it’s a big game because they’re directly below us and a win would give us a little bit of distance, and a point would obviously keep that distance.

“There’s a lot to be gained in terms of winning the game and not getting anything from the next three. There are still 12 points to play for. There’s only three points in this game. That’s what I’ve told the players but we know the importance, 100 per cent.

“It’s my job to make sure we’re focused on the here and now and not what it might achieve. We have to go and grind the result out which we haven’t done in recent weeks. We’ve done very well, without getting any results.

“Saturday and the next three games becomes about results rather than performances.”

Meanwhile, Robinson dodged the VAR pile-on after it was revealed Saints were on the end of three wrong decisions in the space of just two months.

He added: “I think in life, worry about what you can control. I can’t control VAR. I can’t control that people make mistakes.

“We’re humans. Human error will continue to happen no matter where we are. I make many mistakes. We’re in total control of what happens with us.”

On the personnel front, Hyeokkyu Kwon and Jonah Ayunga have been ruled out for the rest of St Mirren’s season.

On-loan Celtic midfielder Kwon, who quickly established himself as a fans’ favourite at the SMiSA and has played nine games for the Buddies, has suffered a torn hamstring while striker Ayunga, 26, has undergone knee surgery.

Meanwhile, Ayunga has scored two goals since returning from a long-term ruptured ACL in November. Robinson confirmed it’s the other knee that has been operated on.

Wing-back Elvis Bwomono (knee) will have a late fitness test ahead of the clash with Dundee while Greg Kiltie (ankle) is a big doubt. But Kwon, 23, remains a live option for a return next season.

“We’ve spoken with Celtic but it’s very early stages,” said Robbo. “Celtic will have to assess how they see him fitting in. We won’t get a decision on that any time soon.

“We’d love to have him back as Kwon has been fantastic for us. We’ll stay in dialogue with Celtic, as we do with every team we loan players from.

“If that option is there next season, then brilliant. If not, there may well be other positions that are more of a priority for us. He’s loved his time here. Fans have taken to him and the players love him so it would be great to have him back.”

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