'The cynics won't be laughing now'

behind the mic column
behind the mic column

David Currie, BBC Sport Scotland

I popped into my local branch of a well-known coffee chain the other day.

Well, It was Halloween and I hadn’t yet had one of those seasonally spiced lattes. I didn’t get one, as it happens, they’d stopped selling them, just my luck.

The morning wasn’t a total bust, however, as sitting there in the corner was St Mirren legend Tony Fitzpatrick. He was engrossed in conversation, so I didn’t disturb him.

Player, captain, manager, chief executive. He even used to paint the stand at the old Love street back in his youth.

Oh aye, and there’s a street, Fitzpatrick Way, named after him on the site of the old stadium.

But younger readers might remember him as man who five years ago, as chief operating officer, claimed the Buddies should be "a top six, top four side".

His comments raised a few eyebrows and from some cynics and one or two laughs. They might not be laughing now.

The Paisley Saints sit third in the Premiership, four points ahead of Hearts, with a game in hand and are outscored only by Rangers and Celtic, who they ran close in Wednesday night's 2-1 away defeat.

It’s early days right enough, St Mirren are only 10 games into the season, but a top-six place already looks a decent bet. Top four? Why not?

There’s goals in the team, it’s solid at the back, well organised, spirited and there’s flair and experience too.

The squad abounds with internationals. Keeping it together might be a challenge come the transfer window. Socceroos Ryan Strain and Keanu Baccus will no doubt attract attention, as will others.

If current form continues, however, keeping hold of the person who makes it all tick could be the hardest trick even though his contract runs till 2026.

In his first season in charge Steven Robinson guided St Mirren to a top-six finish, their highest since the mid-1980s when Fitzpatrick was a player (and you couldn’t get a spiced latte anywhere in Paisley.

Robbo’s on course to better that this season and it won’t have gone unnoticed by succession planning clubs elsewhere.