The impression of St Mirren as a Premiership-team-in-waiting strengthens by the week. As important as victory in Dumbarton on Saturday was to that growing belief, it has ramped up the intrigue for this weekend. Then the Paisley club will be keeping Premiership company for real when taking on Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
The tie has more layers than an onion for Cammy Smith, whose 47th-minute goal at Dumbarton set St Mirren on their way to establishing an eight-point lead over Dundee United at the top of the Championship. Smith moved to Jack Ross’s side from Aberdeen last year, in so doing cutting his ties with the team that raised him and that he was raised supporting.
Smith can return with his head held high, with St Mirren on a seven-game unbeaten run and with eight wins from their past ten league games. He certainly won’t return imbued with ire over having been spurned.
“I don’t think I’ve got anything to prove against Aberdeen,” he said. “I had a good relationship with Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty. We got on well enough so I’m looking forward to going back. My friends and family are all Aberdeen fans – none of this Old Firm nonsense!
“It should be a good week. It’ll be good for my friends and family. To be fair to them, they come down to watch me and it’s a long way for them to be travelling every week. It’s good that it’s on their doorstep for a change.
“A few years ago when I was at Aberdeen St Mirren put us out of the League Cup [in the October 2012 quarter-final], so it would be good if we could do it again. I was a young boy that night and [current St Mirren keeper] Craig Samson saved my penalty. I hope it can be the same result this time, though, and we can knock Aberdeen out.”
Smith, whose 11th goal of the season was followed by Stephen McGinn ending any Dumbarton comeback hopes with a first of the campaign, can’t decide if the cup tie has come at an inopportune time owing to the head of steam St Mirren have been building up in their promotion assault. “It’s difficult to say,” he said. “It’s been a hectic schedule over the festive period and it’s been mentally hard. It’s been worth it because we’ve come through it in good form.
“The Aberdeen game will be a good one to test ourselves. It’s a break from league business as well [but] we’re playing well so it’s good the games are coming thick and fast.”
What’s good for St Mirren is that as the wins also come thick and fast, these have dried up for their nearest challengers for the title, Dundee United. Four points from a possible 12 for the Tannadice men suggests there is little chance of them overhauling Ross’s men. Dumbarton manager Stevie Aitken took up that theme after his team succumbed to St Mirren on Saturday when he stated he was in “no doubt they’ll go on and win the league”. As would be expected, Smith had no interest in such boldness over what lies ahead for him and his team-mates in the coming months.
“Results have gone for us elsewhere but we’re still at the stage where we need to concentrate on ourselves,” the 22-year-old said. “We can’t control what happens elsewhere but the way we work will give us the best chance to control our own [destiny].
“We’ve got the momentum with us but we won’t get carried away. We know we’ve got a chance – but that’s all it is right now. We hope we can keep putting in the performances and getting the results we want.”