Manager Danny Lennon had decided he had better options in central defence and told the 32-year-old he was free to leave. Mair decided he was happy where he was, dug in and vowed to fight for his place.
With captain Jim Goodwin and Marc McAusland clearly Lennon's preferred defensive pairing, Mair was fast becoming resigned to seeing out the final year of his contract in the stand, on the bench or playing for the under-20s. Then opportunity belatedly knocked. A poor run of results combined with an injury to McAusland prompted Lennon into re-assessing his options. Into the fold for Monday night's game against Aberdeen came Mair for his first appearance of the season, partnering Darren McGregor in central defence with Goodwin redeployed in midfield. Coincidentally or otherwise it was the most robust St Mirren had looked defensively for weeks.
"You have got two options when you are out the team: you can go in the huff and go about with your head down or you can work twice as hard to get back in," Mair said. "Fortunately I have worked hard and got back in so now I need to keep my place. That was my first start in the first team for almost five months. It has been quite tough but I have kept my head up and work hard. I had been on the bench for the last two weeks so I thought I was getting closer to a start."
Mair admitted it was his determination to prove his manager wrong that kept him going and thanked Lennon for being "the bigger man" by allowing him to return to the team. "It was a concern [being frozen out] because the manager told me I was surplus to requirements," he added. "He told me we had enough centre halves at the club with Darren McGregor, Marc McAusland, Jim Goodwin and some of the youngsters coming through as well.
"He told me if I could find a club then I could go. Well, I like it here and don't want to go, so I said I would stay and fight for my place. That's what I've done. I never really wanted to leave so I just thought I'd keep my head down and work hard. Luckily the chance came and I got back in.
"It was a sore one to take but I just thought 'I'll prove you wrong'. I am quite stubborn. It takes a bigger man to admit their mistakes. I am not saying he has made a mistake but to bring someone back in after freezing them out is a big decision. But it's up to me now to keep my place."
There were mixed emotions for St Mirren on Monday night, frustration at failing to hold on their lead going into the final six minutes of the game but also satisfaction at a strong team performance that Mair hopes will augur well ahead of Saturday's trip to Tynecastle. "We are down there fighting and every one to a man came off the pitch knackered because they gave their lot," he said. "I think the fans appreciated that. I don't know why it has taken that long for a performance like that. But we can build on that and hopefully start climbing the table."
As for Monday night's visitors? Six games unbeaten, only one goal conceded in that time and still Aberdeen aren't satisfied. It is a sign of the growing confidence under manager Derek McInnes that, rather than sitting back feeling pleased with themselves for a strong start to the season, there is a sense of almost annoyance that results haven't been better still. It took a late Peter Pawlett goal to salvage a draw against embattled St Mirren on Monday night, a result that kept the undefeated sequence rolling on but not one good enough to leapfrog Motherwell into third place in the SPFL Premiership table. "We're unbeaten in six but if anything we feel we should have won more games this season," Pawlett said. "Against St Johnstone we were disappointed not to get the three points and it was the same against St Mirren. Fourth is the least we should expect this season. The signs so far are positive that we've got a decent squad here. There's also Willo [Flood] and Barry [Robson] to come back in. They are experienced lads."
Fresh from a 5-0 demolition of Falkirk in the League Cup, Aberdeen travelled to Paisley widely tipped to rack up another comfortable win. It wasn't to be, however, with Pawlett's late goal denying St Mirren their first win of the season. "It wasn't one of our best performances," Pawlett admitted. "But when you play like that and still get a point, it's not a bad thing. The reaction to losing the goal was strong. We need to do that. It says a lot for our team spirit that we battled back so strongly."