ST MIRREN manager Danny Lennon praised the character of his side after last night’s 1-1 draw with Aberdeen gave them just their second point of the season.
For much of the second half it looked like the Paisley club would claim all three points, after Steven Thompson had opened the scoring, but a Peter Pawlett equaliser five minutes from time was enough to give Derek McInnes’s team a deserved point.
Even so, Lennon was able to reflect on a result which stretched his team’s advantage over Hearts, who they visit on Saturday, to nine points. “I was absolutely delighted with the commitment, the desire, and the hunger,” he said. “The passion – everything you talk about before a ball’s even kicked.
“I asked the players to leave everything on that pitch tonight and have no regrets, and they’ve certainly done that. I’ve just went in there and repeated the exact same thing to them: that level of commitment has got to come first and foremost before any ability.
“We’ve got a tag for ourselves that we like to go and pass the ball. We’re still a million miles from where we want to be with that, but it just shows you that with hunger and application, even when you’re not at your best you can still be impressive and pick up points along the way.”
And, even though St Mirren did not win, they did enough not only to pick up a point, but also to give their self-confidence a much-needed lift. “Tonight you saw two totally different teams at the beginning – Aberdeen who are high in confidence, and us at the other end very low in confidence,” Lennon continued.
“You saw some changes in my personnel tonight – one or two forced upon us, and one or two in different positions. You can get into losing habits and we felt that shifting one or two players gave them a different challenge, a different mindset.
“It’s a small step for us. There’s still a long, long way to go.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, meanwhile, was pleased that his team had picked up a point after a performance which he accepted was short of their best. A win would have taken them third, ahead of Motherwell on goal difference, while the point keeps them fourth.
“The positives to take from it are, on a night when we haven’t been at our best, we have still managed to take something from the game,” he said. “Once we got the equaliser, the momentum was with us and our biggest enemy was the clock. For us, we never reached the levels that we have shown. There was an opposition there fighting and scrapping for everything to deny you the chance to go and play.
“We didn’t move the ball with enough tempo in the first half and we didn’t ask enough questions of the goalkeeper. St Mirren, to their credit, worked extremely hard to deny us.
“We are disappointed with the goal we lost because we had two or three opportunities to deal with and clear it and a situation that didn’t look like it had a lot of danger suddenly became a goal against us. We then had to dig deep and the pleasing part for me was the reaction from everybody. It was roll the sleeves up and straight back at them and I thought we got the goal we deserved and arguably if we’d taken a couple more of our chances it was a game we could have won.”