ST MIRREN manager Jack Ross has praised his squad for putting the club first as contract negotiations are put on hold whilst Saints’ league status remains uncertain.

The Buddies go into the final two games of the season with relegation, a relegation play-off and Championship survival all still a possibility.

The bulk of the Paisley club’s squad are not committed to the club beyond the summer as contracts and loans are set to expire.

Discussions would normally be well under way to keep players and bring in other signing targets but Ross concedes that hasn’t been possible as Saints' future in the second tier hangs in the balance.

But the manager has hailed his squad for focusing on the task at hand and not their own futures.

He said: “It’s difficult for the players in that regard, we have a mixture of players who are under contract, and out of contract. It’s very, very difficult to progress those conversations, not just from us as a club, saying ‘can we keep you?’

“Some of those players have ambitions to play at the highest level they can as well.

“They’ve been good as a squad, they’ve understood that. I haven’t had any issues with the squad in that way.

“The one thing I will say about them is that they’ve understood that they want this club to be in a better position as well. They haven’t put their own interests in front of the club’s interests, I can say that with all honesty.

“I think there’s a group there, who want to achieve safety for the club – then they’ll deal with themselves after that.”

If Saints can go on and complete the great escape from a relegation which seemed highly likely three months ago, Ross says he will try and keep most of the squad together.

He added: “If we manage to do that, we give ourselves a really good platform and foundation.

“Because if we do manage to achieve a really difficult task and stay in the league from where we were, I would naturally want to keep the bulk of who’s done that for us.

“If we keep that bulk then we’ll have a squad that has proven over the last 11 games that they can go and compete with every single team in this division.”