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St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin delighted to see his players revelling in new system

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(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin is delighted to see his players revelling in his new system after being wary of changing his tactics halfway through the season.

The Buddies have won all three games in 2022 after Goodwin switched from a 3-5-2 formation to a 4-2-3-1.

St Mirren had not won in their final 11 matches of 2021 so the Irishman felt something had to change.

“The winter break came at a good time for us, obviously with the Covid problems that we had and from my own point of view as manager it was important to reflect on the first half of the season and what I could do differently and help the group,” Goodwin said.

“I looked a lot at what the other teams were doing as well. When you’re playing with a back three, a lot of teams are playing with a lone striker so you find those three centre-backs are only having to deal with one centre-forward.

“It means you have too many men at the back and not enough men elsewhere to deal with the potential overload in the middle of the pitch. We have great full-backs with good energy anyway and they are willing to get up the pitch.

“I don’t like changing formations halfway through a season, especially after working so hard on it in pre-season and the guys have had four or five months playing that way.

“But the winter break allowed us a two-week period to work tirelessly on the system and make sure the players were aware of the roles we were asking of them within that system.”

Saints followed up victories over Dundee United and Ayr with a 1-0 win over Aberdeen on Tuesday.

“Sometimes you have got to make these decisions as a manager and hope they pay off,” Goodwin said.

“Obviously the run that we were on wasn’t good enough for the group of players that we had. We have drawn 10 games in the league and that’s been our Achilles heel.

“We have had to find a way to win games and at the moment this system is working well but there is no suggestion that we’re not going to ever play a back-three again or change the system, but the players are buying into what we are asking them to do.

“Sometimes as a player, something new can sometimes give you a little bit of excitement and that is what we are seeing.”

St Mirren will move 10 or 11 points away from the bottom two if they win at Dundee on Saturday and put themselves firmly in the mix for a top-six place.

But Goodwin is not getting carried away after their previous three-match winning streak was immediately followed by their 11-game run without victory.

“Last season I probably spoke too much about targets and where we wanted to be,” Goodwin added.

“I’m not taking away from the fact that we still want top six, we still want to be in the mix for that.

“But the message for the players after the break was let’s just take it one game at a time and that’s what we are doing now.

“Dundee is an extremely difficult fixture, they are fighting for their lives. They beat us here 1-0 last time out and we had a very close game on the first day of the season so we have to be at our best.”

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