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ST MIRREN v HIBERNIAN McLean looking for silverware this season rather than a way out of Paisley

Kenny McLean leaned back and rested a foot on an empty chair.

The St Mirren midfielder was waiting to be invited over for an interview but showed little sign of agitation; instead he fiddled contentedly with his phone. He knew what he needed to do and was in no rush to disappear elsewhere.

That is a pertinent sentiment given the scale of speculation over McLean's future this season, even if the 21-year-old does not seem quite as interested. The prospect of a Scottish Communities League Cup final with Hearts and a William Hill Scottish cup quarter-final against Celtic next month are more than enough for him to contend with at the moment.

Yet McLean has also shown impressive poise when quizzed incessantly on where he expects to be playing next season. It is that same composure which has made the midfielder such an important figure for St Mirren and he will get another chance to enhance his reputation when Hibernian arrive in Paisley on league duty today.

"We have the final coming up so there is a great chance for a medal and that is massive for someone at such a young age like myself," he said. "I am enjoying my football at St Mirren, enjoying life in the SPL, which is a good level, so there isn't much more you can ask for at 21.

"People keep saying a move is going to happen but I need to put that to the back of my mind and concentrate on what's in front of me."

That mantra will resonate with Hibs, too, since they are desperate to leave a disappointing run of results behind them by winning today for the first time in five league matches. It is not a coincidence that a drop in form has come as Leigh Griffiths, the striker on loan from Wolves, has hit a bit of a dry spell in front of goal.

He has scored 16 goals so far this season to become Hibs' top scorer but has found the net just three times in his last 14 matches. There is now a greater pressure on others to step up and help shoulder the burden.

"When you concede three goals, it is easy to blame the defenders. It is our job to keep them out and we haven't done the job properly but it is a team game and when we are not defending well, we need a striker to help us out and get a goal or two for us," said Paul Hanlon, the Hibs defender.

"Hopefully, it will all click together and we can score goals and keep clean sheets at the same time. Leigh is our top scorer by a long way and we maybe shouldn't rely on him too much.

"There is a bit of pressure on him to score for us but everyone is trying their best to help him. We have relied far too much on him for the whole season but if we can all chip in with more goals, defenders and midfielders, then that's going to take the pressure off him a bit."

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