MARC McAUSLAND, the St Mirren defender, believes avoiding relegation would rank as a more significant achievement for the club than winning the League Cup two years ago.

The Paisley side trail Motherwell by seven points at the foot of the SPFL Premiership, with the sides meeting at Fir Park this evening in a match that manager Gary Teale has labelled a "must win" for his players.

McAusland was part of the team that defeated Hearts at Hampden in 2013 to lift St Mirren's first major piece of silverware for 26 years, but feels that avoiding the drop back into the second tier for the first time since 2006 would surpass that triumph given the precariousness of the situation. McAusland, a lifelong supporter whose father Bryan sits on the board of directors, is well aware of the likely ramifications of relegation and hopes, with just seven matches remaining, that St Mirren can somehow fight their way out of trouble.

"It would not only be a nightmare if we went down personally as my family are fans, but for the whole town as well," said the 26 year-old. "It will have a negative effect on everyone. I have never been relegated so I don't want to start now. Staying up would definitely mean more than winning the cup. This would be the greatest escape I've been involved with in my career. Personally, I don't want to see the club I support go down. A few of the boys have it in their contract that their wages will go down if we get relegated. Nobody at the club wants it to happen and hopefully we can get ourselves out of the situation."

Teale admitted it did not look good for his side but hasn't given up all hope yet. "We've got seven games to turn a disappointing season into hopefully a reasonable one by making sure we're still in the league next year," said the manager. "I told the players that there have been teams in worse situations than ourselves and escaped. History has proven it can be done. The boys just need to have that belief."

Even if St Mirren are relegated, Teale, interim manager until the summer, expects to be given the chance to bring them back up. "Personally I would expect to stay on as when you look at the position when we came in you were always up against it. My future is for someone else to answer but I would expect to still be here. People say to me I must be a masochist as you're involved 24/7. But it's something I really enjoy."

Meanwhile, the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association has sent an open letter to chairman Stewart Gilmour calling for greater interaction between the board and the fans, and asking for the club to consider dropping admission prices for Monday's home match against relegation rivals Ross County. SMiSA held their AGM on Saturday with some in attendance believing the club is "drifting towards relegation".

"At the time of writing the club's SPL status is precarious but still saveable," wrote John White, the SMiSA secretary. "The feeling within the room was that people wanted to see the club pulling out all the stops to give the team any advantage they can to beat the drop, but that they weren't seeing that happening.

"One practical suggestion was for reduced admission prices to the Ross County game to help encourage the biggest crowd possible to support the team. If that isn't possible at this stage, even a rallying call from the board to encourage a crowd to get along to the Motherwell game could help generate a positive reaction from the support, and maybe address the perception that 'nothing is being done'."