St Mirren out to banish stadium hoodoo vs Hearts
St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson is determined to end all talk of their home hoodoo once and for all when Hearts come calling this weekend.
And the Buddies boss has encouraged his players to chill out as much as possible and forget about statistics ahead of the visit of the Jambos. Saints are still searching for their first home win in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League since moving to their new St Mirren Park stadium back in January and MacPherson admits he is tired of hearing about their lack of luck at the venue.
"Everybody keeps talking about it and inevitably it will be on the players' minds,'' he said. "We are trying to be as relaxed as we possibly can and make sure the players go out and express themselves. We want them to play the way they did at Rugby Park and Pittodrie, to pass the ball the way they did in those games.
"Looking at the stats, our passing hasn't been as good at home and not as quick. To be successful at this level, it's the accuracy and tempo of your passing which is the most important thing because, if you do that consistently, you will create opportunities.''
MacPherson believes results at their new Greenhill Road home have as much to do with the teams who visit the stadium than his players still trying to adapt to their surroundings. "We have to look at the opposition we are playing against,'' he said.
"This is the top flight of Scottish football and, no matter how much people criticise it, it's not easy. It's very competitive and it's very evenly-matched in every game.
"You look at the difference in resources between a club like Celtic and St Mirren but the game was still in the balance until we lost the second goal with 12 minutes to go.''
A win will take Saints above Hearts but MacPherson is well aware how difficult Saturday's clash will be against a team with aspirations of finishing in the top three again.
He said: "You've only got to look at the resources they've got and the size of squad they've got. They have quality in their squad. For a few years now people have been talking about stuff going on off the park but it's never really affected the players on it in terms of the quality.
"Their expectations are to be in the top three or four and we've got to make sure, in that 90 minutes, we compete with them and try to get the three points. You've got to put points on the board early. We are only six games in but we want to put more points on the board.''