ST MIRREN continue to gather momentum in moderation. This was a second successive Premier Sports Cup victory over lower division rivals achieved with minimal fuss as Jim Goodwin’s men all but sealed their place in the knock-out stages.

Just like Dunfermline before them, Stenhousemuir provided St Mirren with the sort of robust challenge teams need at this time of year before eventually succumbing to a narrow defeat.

Scoring was one of the key failings that prevented the Paisley side from converting a good season into a great one last time around and so it will have heartened Goodwin to see Curtis Main, Kristian Dennis and Lee Erwin all on the mark.

Less pleasing for the manager, however, will be the manner in which, having garnered a two-goal advantage, his defence allowed Tom Orr to ghost in to give the home side an unlikely lifeline after the contest had looked beyond them.

Goodwin will surely be looking for something more clinical when his side complete their fixtures at home to Partick Thistle on Sunday.

This was Saints’ first away game since the easing of restrictions and a noisy support revelled in the occasion. A banner was unveiled and pyros lit before kick-off before they ran through the full repertoire of their songbook. Supporters have waited a long time for these moments.

Their enthusiasm was especially admirable given there wasn’t a huge amount on the pitch to get excited about for long spells on a steamy night in Larbert.      

Cammy MacPherson almost gave St Mirren the lead as he channelled his inner Patrik Shick to unleash a shot from the halfway line that drifted just wide but it was a rare burst of action on a night where the tempo was dictated largely by the temperature.

Stenhousemuir, to their credit, proved obdurate opposition for the most part, although they almost inflicted a painful self-inflicted wound when Nat Wedderburn headed a St Mirren corner against his own crossbar. He would have been a relieved man to see the ball hastily cleared afterwards.

The League 2 side, predictably, spent most of the evening back-pedalling but were not without chances of their own.

From one such opportunity, Robert Thomson ought to have done better than toe his shot wide after being picked out by Sean Crighton whose towering header had fallen perfectly into his path.

St Mirren seemed in the mood for the spectacular. Main had already seen one bicycle effort foiled but the big striker was evidently undeterred as he flipped in the air acrobatically to connect with Scott Tanser’s tempting cross. Only an equally impressive stop from Ryan Marshall denied him the goal his spectacular endeavours probably deserved.

Presented with a much easier chance just moments later, Main gave the impression of a man with his shoes on the wrong feet as he somehow failed to hit the target from only a matter of yards out.

The former Aberdeen forward, however, atoned for that abomination just four minutes into the second half.

MacPherson’s hopeful hoist forward wasn’t dealt with by the Stenhousemuir defence or Marshall and from a tight angle Main rolled in his second goal of the campaign.

Stenhousemuir hearts sank knowing their race was likely run and a second goal on the hour mark further deflated their spirits.
Again, it stemmed from poor defending as Greg Kiltie was able to thread a ball across the box to the unmarked Dennis who couldn’t fail to score.

Orr’s goal was rich reward for Stenhousemuir’s diligence before Erwin drilled in a shot deep into injury time to put an extra sheen on the scoreline.