STEVEN THOMPSON believes just surviving in the Premiership will count as success again for St Mirren next season – but hopes they can avoid the play-offs this time to spare his nerves.

The Sportscene presenter, back at the Simple Digital Arena to unveil a mural of his goal celebration against Celtic in the 2013 League Cup semifinal, praised Oran Kearney and his players for turning it around after fearing his old club was destined for the drop.

Thompson felt talk of a top-six finish next year was a “fairytale” and believes even getting 10th should be considered good enough.

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He said: “Tony Fitzpatrick has said tongue-in-cheek that he thinks St Mirren should be pushing into the top six but that’s an unbelievably difficult thing to achieve on their budget.

“It’s nice to have that fairytale and positivity but St Mirren’s aim should always be just surviving in the league. Tenth would be a success and I don’t think there are many fans who would disagree with that.

“The last two months of the season were brilliant and every St Mirren fan must have enjoyed it so much. I thought we were gone. I wouldn’t have given us a hope around Christmas time as there were no signs that we would end up staying in the league.

“But they showed unbelievable character. In the play-off games they held their nerve when they weren’t fancied to stay up through the penalty shoot-out. It was an exciting end to the season for St Mirren fans but I don’t think I would want a repeat of that next season! I’d rather just stay in the league without having to go through the pressures of a play-off.

“If they can stay in the league again next season and try to keep the nucleus of the squad together rather than shipping dozens in and out every year then that would be the key to greater consistency. That’s the sort of thing that will keep them in the league for many years to come.”

Thompson’s mural is one of six throughout the stadium chosen and funded by members of the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMISA) and painted by local artist Mark Worst.

Thompson added: “It’s such an honour and I hope the mural is up there for a long, long time. The artist has done really well, so I’m really pleased with it.

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“That was one of the best moments of my career, without a doubt – scoring for St Mirren in a semi-final at Hampden.

"That goal put us 3-1 up against Celtic and you’re starting to think we might actually make it to the final. You can tell from my face that I might have enjoyed that goal ever so slightly!

“It’s great that the idea of the murals has come from the fans. Any dealings I’ve had with SMISA they’ve always been absolutely sensational. It’s great to have a relationship with them and feel part of the club again.”

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