There are certain convictions in football.

A number of these will come after a boozy night out and a conversation with the police, while others are more often expressed soberly.

Among them is a belief that a team can be "too good to go down". It is a conviction which has related to St Mirren this season - a team which comprises players with experience of international football and others who have performed at a higher level than the SPFL Premiership. It is a view which was challenged on Tuesday night first by league statistics and later by Steven Thompson.

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The St Mirren striker spoke gravely about the prospect of his club staying in the top flight this season after they endured a seventh defeat in eight matches, the Paisley side losing 1-0 at home to St Johnstone. A goal in the first half from Steven MacLean divided the teams and left St Mirren in the relegation play-off place.

Kilmarnock and Ross County are both three points better off, while Partick Thistle occupy 10th place. The inability of St Mirren to remove themselves from among those teams threatened by relegation has led to discontent among supporters and frustration from Thompson.

"No-one is ever too good to go down," said the striker, St Mirren's top scorer this season with 14 goals. "It's fair to say we are underachieving and that results haven't been good enough. The league table doesn't lie and if you look at our goal difference, we've got the second worst figure in the table. We haven't been scoring enough goals collectively and we are conceding too many. We can do a lot better than we did against St Johnstone, that's for sure."

St Mirren looked confident in the opening stages on Tuesday but the longer they went without scoring, the quicker that belief evaporated. Thompson acknowledged that his side cannot afford to be timid if they are to prolong their eight-year stay in the top flight.

"The first four or five minutes we were reasonably bright but after that I don't think we were anywhere near the tempo we have been playing at over the last two or three matches," said Thompson. "We were hesitant on the ball and possibly looked a wee bit nervy. With the position we are in, that is when you need to stand up and be counted and take the ball. We were too quick to give it away. It's fair to say we were poor.

"Do I think our league position is getting to the players? No, not yet. But I think we need to show a bit more character and more belief."