St Mirren 6- 2 Ayr United: Buddies rise to the occasion

Cancel the wreath and put those Greenock street parties on hold as reports of St Mirren's imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated, and are more than a touch premature.

Stevie Mallan arrowed home a fifth-minute opener. Picture: Sammy Turner/SNS

The Paisley team are going into the crucial run-in looking rejuvenated, revitalised and more importantly, resurrected.

Jack Ross’s men beat Ayr with almost contemptuous ease to leave them one point away from climbing off the foot of the table for the first time since early autumn.

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Stevie Mallan, pictured, fresh from his Scotland Under-21 bow in midweek, arrowed home a fifth-minute opener with his weaker right foot to set the tone for a very one-sided first half.

Gary MacKenzie rose to power home the second, swiftly followed by a tap-in from Stephen McGinn as Saints buried sorry Ayr with less than a third of the game elapsed.

Ian McCall’s men had no answer against the hosts with Mallan dribbling through the visiting defence before firing inches wide, only for Kyle Magennis to hit a fourth minutes later courtesy of a brilliant finish having rounded Greg Fleming.

After the interval Lewis Morgan, another Scotland Under-21 debutant, rifled home a low strike as the Buddies went nap, but an injury to the winger soon after with what appeared to me a nasty foot knock derailed their rhythm.

Paul Cairney fired home 15 minutes from time for United with Farid El Alagui reducing the deficit further with a downward header near the end.

Saints rallied and deservedly 
had the last word as Cammy Smith forced home a rebound from 
close range after John Sutton’s scuffed effort had struck the woodwork.