ST MIRREN chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick believes avoiding relegation this season would be on a par with winning the Scottish Cup.

Fitzpatrick ranks defeating Dundee United to lift the trophy back in 1987 as one of the greatest days of his career.

But he believes beating the same opposition over two legs this week in the Premiership play-offs would be just as significant for manager Oran Kearney and his players.

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He said: “This tie is just as important as winning the Scottish Cup. That was a fantastic achievement back in 1987 when we won a major trophy for just the third time in the club’s history. Being a part of that was amazing. It’s a day I’ll never forget.

“But securing our Premiership survival this season is just as important. And it would be some achievement if the club can do it against a big club like United, just as it was lifting the cup that day.

“It’s our first year back in the top division and it would be terrific if we could stay up. You would have thought going undefeated throughout the split to take 11 points would be enough but it wasn’t to be. But we would have grabbed this chance a few months ago.”

Most Premiership clubs go into the play-off on a poor run of results but St Mirren have lost only one of their last eight matches, and that was against Celtic.

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Fitzpatrick added: “Usually teams are on a downer going into these ties but everyone here is on a real high - the team’s form over the last few months has been terrific.”

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