St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson has backed Ryan Strain and Keanu Baccus to push for places in Australia’s World Cup squad.
The pair were central to Saints’ 1-0 win over Ross County, with Richard Tait scoring the only goal of the game early in the second half.
Neither player has been capped at full international level but Strain was called up to the squad last year, while Baccus played for the Socceroos’ Under-23 team at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Robinson said: “There’s more still to come from Keanu. He tired in the last 10 minutes but no wonder with the amount of running that he does, even in training.
“I also thought Ryan Strain was excellent today. So that’s two boys who are going to be right in amongst that Australian set-up for the World Cup, hopefully.”
St Mirren’s victory saw them claim their first points of the season to move off the foot of the fledgling table.
Robinson felt it was important just to alleviate any pressure his players had been putting themselves under.
He added: “We’re only three games in but it was critical for the players’ belief. They read things, so it does mount up a little bit, so for the belief in the camp this was great.
“The boys are human. They make pressure up in their heads.
“Pressure to me is when you can’t pay your mortgage. They’re young boys with feelings and they’re trying ever so hard to give everything. And I’m so happy that they got a result today.
“We always thought we had a good squad and we’ve now got almost everyone fit bar Scott Tanser.
“Eamonn Brophy got another 30 minutes and Curtis Main got another 65. You look at our bench and we’re starting to get there. We’ve got options when things aren’t going our way.”
Saturday’s game was played in scorching weather but County boss Malky Mackay insisted that did not excuse his side’s below-par display.
He said: “It was difficult for both teams. The weather is probably the hottest it’s been in a while and it was good the referee gave water breaks for the teams.
“There are no excuses but it looked like a pre-season game at times.”
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