St Mirren boss Oran Kearney has revealed that he thought his team would be relegated by now. 

Instead if the Buddies can manage a win at Hamilton this afternoon and Aberdeen can get all three points against Dundee, they could go five points clear of bottom spot and within one point of 10th placed Accies before the split.

The fixtures were released yesterday afternoon with Kearney's side set to take on Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday, April 20.

And the Northern Irishman has challenged his players to embrace the pressure of all the remaining fixtures.

He said: "We should be dead and buried as far as I'm concerned but we have been able to hold on. I always believe that there could be a worse scenario - and the worse scenario is we are sitting here 10 points adrift and if Hamilton beat us then we are pretty much gone. Thankfully, we are not in that scenario and I think for us that is where the freedom against Dundee came from last Saturday and I hope it is where it comes again today.

"You try your hardest to enjoy these games, but there is pressure involved. For our group, and I've reminded them of it a couple of times, they should be glad they face this pressure. We should be delighted to even be in this scenario and in the mix because we could easily be sitting here 10 points adrift. The fact that we have hung in there in the last eight weeks with the form we have produced is testament to the guys at this club. They have earned the right to be under this pressure.

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"Timing is everything and if we can keep moving in the direction and time that surge up the table right then that's what we are looking for. It is simple, we just need to take care of Hamilton and the games that are in front of us.”  

St Mirren keeper Vaclav Hladky was shaken up by a pyrotechnic thrown onto the pitch in the clash with Celtic on Wednesday night as Neil Lennon’s side ran out 2-0 winners with a firecracker set off in the away end in the wake of Ryan Christie’s clincher with five minutes remaining.

The Gazette: Hladky is startled by firecracker in ugly scenes against Celtic on WednesdayHladky is startled by firecracker in ugly scenes against Celtic on Wednesday
Kearney confirmed that Hladky, who has earned rave reviews in his short stint in Paisley stint, has been closely monitored and will be available for the crunch relegation battle as he asks his squad for one last push. 

He continued: "Thankfully he is fine. We have monitored him over the past couple of days and kept a real tight eye on him.We are just ever so thankful that it is not as bad as it could have been and we have got away with one there. If that flare lands a couple of yards closer to him or right at his feet, I dread to think what we would be sitting here discussing. Anything could have happened.

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"It is really unsavoury. I just don't know what is to be gained out of those pyrotechnics. You even see Ryan Christie jump in the highlights. I jumped a mile and I am 50 metres away from it. I'm sure it freaked a lot of people out and shocked a lot of people before they realised what it was. In a football environment, it is reckless to be behaving like that."