THE introduction of a relegation play-off means the SPFL Premiership season will be extended for the players of one club this term.

Josh Magennis hopes to be stretched out on a beach by then.

However, clouds are gathering over the horizon of the forward's holiday plans following his January loan move from Aberdeen to St Mirren.

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While his former team-mates at Pittodrie prepare for tomorrow's League Cup final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Magennis will be engaging in an attempt to claim three points against Dundee United at Tannadice as the Paisley side battle to stay ahead of Partick Thistle and Ross County in the lower reaches of the league table.

St Mirren interrupted a sequence of six matches without a win when they beat Kilmarnock a fortnight ago, a run that which included a defeat by United in the William Hill Scottish Cup last month. Magennis, who is out of contract at the end of the season, said: "It was a difficult decision to walk away from the chance to play in a final but it was the right one for me. If I had stayed and been left out of the final or only got on for 10 minutes then that would have killed me a bit. I'll still be there to back them."

County and Partick Thistle are both one behind St Mirren, with Kilmarnock also still vulnerable. Finishing 11th is a threat likely to hang over all four clubs after the split too but Magennis is certain Danny Lennon's men have shown themselves capable of pulling clear by the end of the campaign. He said: "We showed last week that we are not a pub team, that it is not the case that we have been thrown together and that we don't allow teams to play."

Magennis was also keen to underline his appetite for the fight despite his only recent arrival in Paisley. "People were saying I could come here just to get games but I take things personally," he added. "I didn't come here on a jolly just to play 90 minutes and at the end of it say 'I don't care about your situation, I'll see you when I see you'. When I'm at a football club, I'm at a football club and my focus has to be St Mirren and getting us away from this relegation talk."

John Rankin, meanwhile, insists United are ready to rally and prove the doubters wrong again during the run-in. A home defeat to St Johnstone on Wednesday ended a run of five straight wins for Jackie McNamara's team. However, Rankin said: "People questioned us before and asked if we would struggle for the rest of the season with our young squad.

"But I think we have shown we have a bit of strength of character in the dressing-room and now we need to show it again. I don't think we played well enough the other night. We didn't get the ball down and pass it well enough and credit to St Johnstone because they stopped us doing that but we need to be bigger and stronger and mentally stronger as well.

"The defeat has put an end to another run we had put together, so we need to bounce back against St Mirren and start putting another run together rather than start struggling for a victory again. Hopefully this time we can eradicate the problem straight away."

Ryan Gauld could start for United after making his return from a back injury off the bench in midweek.