Jim Goodwin claims his in-form St Mirren side are going into games “expecting to win” ahead of Kelty Hearts’ visit in the Scottish Cup.
The Buddies are unbeaten in 2022, with five wins and a draw in all competitions taking them into sixth place in the cinch Premiership, one point behind Motherwell and Dundee United, and the Paisley side’s boss could not be more pleased.
“The run we are on now is probably a surprise to people outside our dressing room more than the staff and players,” said Goodwin, who hopes to have Scott Tanser in his squad for Saturday’s fifth-round clash after he recovered from a knock.
“For the last couple of seasons we have spoken about becoming a team that can compete for the top half of the table.
“We are not there yet, we can only call ourselves a top-six team if we finish there one season and hopefully we will do that this season.
“The boys are on a great run of form, winning games breeds confidence and gives everybody that real sense of belief and you just go into every game now expecting to win.
“We don’t underestimate any opposition. We will give Kelty Hearts as much respect as any Premiership team we face but we have just a great sense of belief in the group now.
“We know we have to apply ourselves properly, we know that we can’t drop our standards but also we know that if we play to the levels that we have been playing consistently in the last few weeks, then we give ourselves a great chance of progressing.”
Kelty Hearts knocked out holders St Johnstone in the last round but Goodwin was already impressed with Kevin Thomson’s side, who are 10 points clear of Forfar at the top of League 2.
He said: “They are a very good side, a very well organised team. Kevin Thomson is a good young manager with fresh ideas.
“I know he was highly regarded at Rangers with the academy and he has obviously stepped up to senior management and you have to say he has taken to it like a duck to water.
“I think they have only lost a handful of games this season in all competitions, they have scored something like 50 goals in 22 league games so they have real firepower.
“I watched the St Johnstone game back during the week and they have forward players who can cause opposition real problems.
“Nathan Austin has 15 (league) goals for the season, the boy Alfredo Agyeman looks a handful as well and they have ex-Premiership players Kallum Higginbotham, Joe Cardle and Jordon Forster at the back as well.
“I don’t believe they are a League 2 team, they could very much hold their own in the Championship with the squad and budget they have at that level.
“They should be winning that league and I would expect them to get promoted this season and go again next season and be in the mix for promotion out of League One also.
“It is going to be extremely challenging. There is no pressure on Kelty Hearts, they are the underdogs. It is a banana skin, very similar to the last round against Ayr.
“My players are under no illusions as to how difficult this is going to be. You talk about our run but Kelty Hearts aren’t used to losing games either so they will be very confident.”
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