ST MIRREN manager Jack Ross spoke of his pride in his players as the Paisley team moved to within one point of the title with a 1-0 win over Brechin City.

The Buddies knew there was a chance to clinch promotion on Saturday, providing they won at Glebe Park and Livingston failed to beat Morton at home.

When Kyle Magennis put Saints ahead after just seven minutes and Thomas O’Ware gave Morton an early lead in West Lothian, the black-and-white army had their party poppers at the ready. But, in the end, the celebrations had to be put on hold as Livingston sealed a late 3-2 win to virtually secure a spot in the Premiership play-offs.

Ross, however, remained upbeat – safe in the knowledge that, after his team’s 22nd win of the season, they had one hand on the trophy.

“We understood today that all we could affect was our own result,” he told The

Gazette. “Livingston are a really good team, so I had no real strong belief they wouldn’t win because their results this season have been outstanding.

“It was just about our focus being on this game because, if we had dropped points and they [Livingston] had won, then all of a sudden things would’ve been closer again.

“I know it’s difficult to imagine with everything else going on but our focus was on this game and that’s why I’m happy with the players.

“They know they’ve taken another big step forward. There was a bit of apprehension about our play but that’s to do with the expectation on the players’ shoulders, so for me, there’s no frustration in terms of performance, just pride the players have managed to produce another win.”

Ross named an unchanged starting

line-up for the Brechin match, despite

his players managing only a point against Inverness in the Highlands the previous weekend. But his faith was rewarded

almost immediately when Magennis fired in a powerful shot early on after picking up an Adam Eckersley throw-in. News of

Morton’s goal in Livingston shortly afterwards had Saints fans in full voice but Brechin almost put a pin in their party

balloons when Jordan Sinclair smacked the crossbar with a long-range effort just before the half-hour mark.

Harry Davis nearly put the visitors 2-0 up just before the break as he got his head to a Magennis free-kick but the ball fell safely into Brechin keeper Graeme Smith’s hands.

The only real chance in the second half fell to Saints’ Cammy Smith, who got on the end of a Danny Mullen ball only to hit the side netting.

As phones pinged around the ground with news of Livingston’s eventual victory, what had been a very loud group of 2,000 travelling St Mirren fans went quiet, knowing they would have to make another big journey east to Dundee United last night for their next chance to truly celebrate.

Ross, meanwhile, urged his players to

enjoy themselves and remember how

different things were this time last

season, when they were staring relegation to League One in the face.

He added: “It’s only probably in Scotland where you can get a team who have already been relegated giving you such a hard game.”