Stephen Robinson proud of St Mirren as European stars shine on Celtic's big day

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

Stephen Robinson says St Mirren showed how far they’ve come by rising to the occasion on trophy day at Celtic Park.

The Buddies were in front twice on Saturday but the champions responded and grabbed a late 3-2 victory before the silverware was handed over.

Boss Robinson was disappointed how Celtic got their goals and believes Saints’ wounds were self-inflicted.

However, he was full of pride for a gutsy performance — and a campaign which has delivered European football for the first time in 37 years.

“I thought the boys were excellent,” he said. “It’s as long as we’ve looked in control of the game. They are a quality side. We matched them for large portions and our shape out of possession was very, very good.

“Ultimately, we haven’t got a point no matter how well we played but it just shows you how far this football club has come that you can come and go toe-to-toe with Celtic.

“The emotions and the atmosphere; we said try and control that for the first 15 minutes of both halves. We managed to do that and take the lead.

“We were disappointed in the last goal – and the two other goals. That was the only disappointment of the day. We’ve lots to improve on but, as an overriding emotion for the season, I’m super proud of this group of boys.

“They’ve given everything for the shirt and everything for the town. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about every one of them.

“The fans have been brilliant. To come here, when it is going to be a Celtic celebration, and support our players; I’ve nothing but good things to say.

“They’ve been behind our players. We set out two-and-a-half seasons ago to change the football club from top to bottom and I believe we’re doing that.

“There is still a lot of work to do and a long way to go but this group of players have managed to give this group of fans, who are loyal every week, European football which has been a long-held dream.

“I’m proud of the players, I’m proud of the fans and hopefully everybody stays safe this summer.”

Work on building next season’s squad is already well underway as Robbo aims to build on a fifth-placed Premiership finish.

“It’s not just my work or the staff’s work,” he said. “It’s more the playing staff and non-playing staff. Everyone has put us into this position.

“We wanted to test ourselves. It shows we have the basis of a really good squad. Most of the players on that pitch – apart from [Keanu] Baccus and [Ryan] Strain – will potentially be with us next season. So, it’s up to me to try to build and continue that upward rise of the club.”

The weekend trip to Glasgow’s east end was Strain and Baccus’ last outings for Saints. Charles Dunne is also expected to leave with Zach Hemming returning to parent club Middlesbrough for the time being.

He added: “The boys that are leaving – we wish them nothing but good luck. They have been fantastic for us. That’s football. We go again and try to come back stronger.”

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