They have been stripped down to their unmentionables already this season, a series of uncomfortable performances in the league having been followed on Tuesday with a defeat in the Scottish League Cup by Queen of the South. It was a result which exposed them to further criticism but also a rather naked truth. "We need to beat Partick Thistle. It is as simple as that. Nothing else will be good enough," conceded Jim Goodwin, the St Mirren captain.
That assessment was delivered staccato. It kept time with the rhythm of St Mirren's season. The Paisley side have procured just one point from three league matches. The League Cup has now been wrenched from their grasp. They will hope that the cadence of their season can be altered by beating Thistle on Saturday, though, while also drumming up support for Danny Lennon, since it is the manager who is most in need of it. The reaction from supporters to an early cup exit was not so much a chorus of jeers as a more malignant chuntering about their manager's future.
The extra-time winner from Michael Paton struck Lennon where it hurts. The manager had completed the loan signing of Jake Caprice on the eve of the tie and exposed the winger to the malaise of his side late on in Dumfries. The Blackpool player showed purpose and pace, dropping hints that he will prove to be an asset, yet his crosses did not fall for St Mirren and they were instead left to gather frustration at an incapacity to overcome a side from the SPFL Championship.
"We had a couple of balls across the face of goal which were just waiting for someone to tap them in and we had [Paul McGowan's] missed penalty and things like that, we're just not getting any luck at all," Goodwin said. "We are creating chances but just aren't putting them away. That's not solely down strikers - the midfielders and defenders need to help out at things like corners. There is a huge importance on everybody to chip in."
It is not an uncommon lament but the disquiet of fans is also now uncomfortably familiar. Lifting the League Cup last season helped elevate the mood at a club which still finished in 11th place in the league and Goodwin is aware that their patience has started to erode. "The fans have made their voices heard already - they are obviously disappointed at our [league] standing as we have only got one point from our games," he said. "It is extremely disappointing and we had hoped to get off to a good start and get some momentum . . . but that wasn't to be."