St Mirren manager Danny Lennon believes his team can go on to have a successful campaign after securing their first win of the season with a 2-0 triumph over Hearts.
The victory was only their second in the 17 games since beating Hearts in the League Cup final in March and it moved them 12 points above the bottom side in the Scottish Premiership.
Hearts had gone into the game looking to further cut the gap created by their 15-point administration penalty but St Mirren, after weathering a lively first 10 minutes from their hosts, built impressively on their performance in picking up their second point of the season against Aberdeen on Monday night.
Jon McGinn headed home Conor Newton’s right-wing cross at the back post in the 42nd minute as Saints were rewarded for a positive first-half display.
And Paul McGowan netted from close range in the 58th minute when Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald spilled David van Zanten’s low, driven cross.
Their midfielders swarmed forward in an entertaining first half and they gave an assured defensive display after going two up, although Hearts striker Callum Paterson fired good chances over the bar just before each goal.
Lennon put their poor start to the season down to confidence and feels they can further build on their last two games.
“Getting back to the little things being faithful to the little things, and working hard, when you do that as a group, you get rewards for the big things,” he added.
“I was under a bit of pressure last year with six straight defeats round about November. We managed to overcome that and turn it around.
“We managed to lift a bit of silverware and get one or two of the club’s best results in their history. We went on to win three games in a row.
“I certainly believe with that type of performance, that character, that discipline, that hunger, that energy, there is no reason why we can’t do it again.”
Lennon, who is in his fourth season as St Mirren manager, added: “They have set the standard in the last two games and we set the standard in long spells last season, and we have set standards since my time here.
“This is a lean spell we were going through.
“There is no easy way to success. There is no elevator to success.
“There is only the stairway and we have taken another couple of steps.”
Hearts urge belief
The atmosphere at Tynecastle went from defiance and anticipation at the start of the game to dejection but Hearts manager Gary Locke urged his team to retain belief that they can get out of their predicament.
With Kilmarnock losing at Dundee United, Hearts only fell one point further adrift and have a chance to cut the 10-point deficit when they travel to Rugby Park later this month.
Locke said: “One thing we can’t do is feel sorry four ourselves. The boys are very down but there is still a long way to go.
“If we can produce performances like we did earlier in the season then we will give ourselves a chance.
“We will take that one on the chin. We didn’t play well enough on the day.
“With the team being young, we are always going to get one or two performances like that.
“Maybe, on another day, if we took our chances it could have been different, but I certainly didn’t think we played as well as we have been doing.
“I was pleased with the start and then we made one or two little errors that gave St Mirren a bit of belief.
“After that we kind of huffed and puffed without being as creative as we have been doing.”