I KNOW I’m biased but if St Mirren were to guarantee their safety this weekend then it must go down as one of the greatest escapes from relegation of all time. Jack Ross has done an incredible job over the past few months and a draw at Easter Road tomorrow will ensure Saints won’t be involved in the end-of-season play-offs. And they would have snapped your hand off for that scenario not so long ago.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a season. By the start of December they had still not won a league match and had claimed a total of four points from 14 games. They were rock bottom of the Championship, nine points behind Dunfermline in ninth and a further point behind Dumbarton in eighth. Perhaps more remarkably they were also 12 points behind Ayr United and 19 behind Raith Rovers, the two teams now sitting below them in the table. It has been a stunning turn-around.

It was a bit of a gamble by St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott to sack Alex Rae in September and bring in Ross, and then another one to allow his new manager to completely overhaul the team in January. Both now have to be considered risks that have paid off.

What has been most impressive is the manner in which Ross has led the team to the cusp of ensuring their Championship status for another season. Most managers would have taken a safety-first approach, constructing a team that was defensive and hard to beat in the first instance. You would have expected them to try to grind out results regardless of how it was achieved.

Instead, it has been the total opposite of that. In the last six games St Mirren have scored 20 goals and been winning games by playing open, expansive and entertaining football. There has been little sign of any nerves in how they have gone about their business, no evidence of players fearful of making mistakes or about the crowd getting on their back. Instead it has been free-flowing, attacking football. In recent weeks they have put six goals past Ayr, five past Raith and four past Morton, and that shows the attitude Ross has instilled in his players.

When I was relegated with St Mirren in 2015 it was the opposite. You almost became paralysed by fear that you were going to make the mistake that would cost the team another defeat. It was almost impossible to play with any freedom. And yet somehow Ross has removed that mentality from the dressing room and given them the confidence that they can beat teams even at the top end of the table. That’s been the most impressive thing for me.

The job is not quite done, of course. Were Raith to win against Ayr tomorrow, then Saints would need a draw at Hibs who will be looking to put on a show for their fans on trophy day. In that regard, the midfield battle between the McGinn brothers ought to be intriguing.

I wonder what John’s head will be like going into this one. Of course he wants to do as well as he can for Hibs but does he also want to be partly responsible for pushing his old club and his brother into the relegation play-offs? In the last match between the sides when Saints won 2-0 in Paisley, John had a stinker and openly admitted as much. You wonder how he will do on this occasion as you know that his brother Stephen will be right up for it. His presence in the last few months has been key as he’s the glue that holds the midfield together.

I only left St Mirren last summer and already there aren’t too many left from that squad still at the club and playing regularly. But one of those is Stevie Mallan who has been instrumental in the recent fight back. The third goal of his hat-trick last weekend was one of the best goals I have ever seen, a terrific strike from distance into the top corner. Like Lewis Morgan, Jack Baird and Kyle Magennis, Stevie has come through the ranks at the club and really blossomed this season.

One of the things I noticed about him when we played together that he was always spending extra hours practising his shooting and his free kicks. So it’s not just about having a gift. Young players need to work hard to improve their technique and Stevie has done that. It’s not by fluke that he scores a lot of goals from dead balls and from distance.

I have to also mention the St Mirren supporters who have been absolutely fantastic. The last few years have been fairly torrid for the club but they have backed their team to the hilt, most notably over the past few months when the team has needed them most. There will be 1800 of them at Easter Road tomorrow and hopefully they’ll see their team make it over the finishing line to safety.