St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour believes the Buddies can still make a late promotion push under new manager Alex Rae.
The former Rangers midfielder masterminded a 2-0 victory over Alloa on Saturday just 24 hours after taking up the job.
But Ian Murray’s replacement has it all to do if he is to drag his new charges back into the reckoning for the play-offs.
The weekend win at the Wasps was only Saints’ third Ladbrokes Championship triumph of the season and the eighth-placed Paisley side remain 12 points behind fourth-placed Raith Rovers.
However, Gilmour has not given up hope, saying: “We’re pleased to have Alex here. He comes from a really good background, he’s worked at the highest level, has a bit of experience in management and we’re hoping he does well.
“Our target is still to be in around the fourth/fifth spot. That is what we looked at back at the start of the season. We knew we were downsizing after being relegated and needed a season to sort ourselves out.
“I don’t think we have a poor squad, I just don’t think we have got the results we need. We certainly haven’t given up hope.
“There is still half the season to go and the roles can still be reversed. The top three look pretty much settled but there is still a fourth spot there and I know that is what Alex will be trying to get.
“He is a very determined and focused guy.”
Rae – who has worked as a number two to Paul Ince at Blackpool and Alex McLeish during a stint with Belgian side Genk since his last job in management with Dundee – took a more cautious approach, though, as he targeted catching Dumbarton in seventh as his first priority.
But he does hope to bring in a couple of new signings next month as well as an assistant manager as he sets about transforming the stuttering Saints.
It is understood that former Hibs boss Alex Miller, who had been working alongside Murray before he resigned last week, has also walked away from the club and Rae’s former Dens Park right-hand man David Farrell is now expected to be reunited with his friend later this week.
For now, though, the new manager has promised those who remain behind a clean slate.
“I’m not interested in what went on before,” he said.
“I’m only interested on what I can impact and how I go about putting my ideas over to these boys.
“Hopefully, if I can do that we can start climbing the table.
“I can’t compliment the lads highly enough after what I saw on Saturday. They were very energetic, scored a couple of good goals and with a little bit more care could have had one or two more.
“I saw enough at the weekend to tell me we have enough character to get out of this situation. They were smashing into people and got about the park. It was very encouraging.
“We need big personalities but I don’t think there’s any bigger than myself. I told them today I want to make this as enjoyable as possible.
“I’ve been here four days in a row now since getting the job on Friday. I even came in a few hours on Sunday trying to sort out some things.
“There’s an under-20s game tonight so I’m looking at another 12 or 13-hour day. It’s right back into the frying pan, that’s for sure. “