ST MIRREN appear to be stuck in the midst of their own personal Groundhog Day. All the things that went wrong for them in the first half of last season are being repeated this year, except at a level lower than before. Even Bill Murray in the movie never had to endure that sort of ignominy.

The echoes of the chaos that was Tommy Craig’s ill-fated and brief reign last season are plain to see. Another relatively inexperienced manager is in charge and results are just as poor. Just as last year, St Mirren are heading into December without a home league win to their name. They again find themselves stuck at the wrong end of the table and struggling for any kind of consistency. The club remains up for sale with little sign of a change of ownership any time soon. If St Mirren fans thought relegation from the Premiership would at least bring about an upturn in fortunes, then life in the Championship has not been any kinder. The thought that a first ever season in the third tier of Scottish football could well be on the cards next year must have crossed the minds of a few.

And now, almost a year from the day from Craig doing similar, manager Ian Murray has managed to upset a section of the club’s support with his post-match comments. In Craig’s case it was a refusal to offer any sop to the fans following a heavy defeat to Hamilton. If his predecessor was a man of few words, then it was saying too much that has landed Murray in bother. “Fans are entitled to their opinions but, without being patronising, I think I know a bit more about football than them,” he said following the 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers. That did not sit well with many St Mirren supporters.

Two days on and Murray ventured an explanation for his comments, if not an apology. There was frustration on his part that the hardy travelling support had chosen to focus on another winless outing and not more on Stevie Mallan’s late free kick equaliser, but admitted it was another lesson learned in how to handle yourself as a manager.

“It’s one of those unique jobs where you make your mistakes in public and pay for it after,” he conceded. “I’m old enough and wise enough to know that what I said would get people’s backs up the wrong way. I also felt that people can maybe read too much into things and dwell on it.

“Things were probably taken out of context a little bit in terms of what was said. It grew arms and legs from what was meant. What we should have been focussing on at the time, rather than not winning the game, was a fantastic equaliser by Stevie Mallan in the last minute.

“I regret my reaction immediately after the game in terms of having a go at the supporters. I should probably have concentrated more on the positive side of our team getting the point we felt we deserved away from home. So from that side of it, yes, I regret it. But I also felt the players deserved more credit than they were getting.”

Murray admitted only results will help mend his relationship with the supporters now and Saturday’s Petrofac Training Cup semi-final against Rangers would be the ideal place to start.

“A win of any kind in a semifinal is huge. A win at Ibrox against Rangers in a semi-final is even bigger. It’s unusual to play a semi-final at a venue which is not neutral but that’s the way this cup works and it’s a fantastic opportunity for us.”