He may have entered the international break licking his wounds after St Mirren's 3-0 home defeat to Rangers, but Stephen Robinson is entitled to look back at the bigger picture of his team's opening eight games with the utmost pride. Despite the Ibrox club spending nearly £15m on players in the summer, they only sit above the men from Paisley in the Scottish Premiership table on account of goal difference. 

While the scoreline in last weekend's game was decisive, Robinson's well-drilled side looked capable of a shock before a bizarre handball by Ryan Strain gifted Rangers both a penalty and an extra man. The result will have been painful, but the Buddies are still in an admirable position. Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen, for all their comparatively rich resources, have so far been left in St Mirren's Premiership slipstream.

It's amazing then, that more people haven't taken notice of the Northern Irishman's work at the SMISA Stadium where he's so dramatically outperforming expectations. All three of the aforementioned non-Old Firm big city clubs have changed managers this year with none ultimately turning to Robinson despite his obvious case for strong consideration.  And it's especially galling when you take into account the broader accomplishment of the manager's past work. This is no flash in the pan.

While Scottish football has seen many hot young managers who go on to bigger things before it becomes obvious the club or circumstances may have merely aligned in a perfect way, this manager has delivered consistently at two clubs.

Who could forget his muscular, aggressive Motherwell side that battered Pedro Caixinha's Rangers into submission so memorably in a 2018 Hampden semi-final? Louis Moult added serious cutting-edge to that side but they were supremely organised, physical to the edges of acceptability and drilled to a point. 

Now, many managers have made careers out of this kind of football in our top flight and it's always easier to destroy than create, but Robinson quickly proved he's no one trick pony. In his third season in North Lanarkshire he took the decision to rip up the game plan and institute a much more attractive style of play centred around the talented young players coming from the club's academy. That he made the decision to change so dramatically was bold but it also showed a flexibility and depth to his coaching. 

READ MORE: Why Stephen Robinson and St Mirren will continue to raise eyebrows

While they maintained a powerful edge, Motherwell 2.0 side were much easier on the eye and crucially gave a platform to talented maverick David Turnbull. Alongside lightning winger Jake Hastie and impressive midfielder Allan Campbell, they were clearly a team on the rise.  Turnbull was to end up shining so brightly that Celtic would spend £3m to secure his signature. While that's not big money in the wider ecosystem of football, it's a fortune to a fan owned club like Motherwell, giving them a level of financial security that few Scottish clubs enjoy. 

They finished third that year but following a slow start to the next term, Robinson walked away stating he was no longer the man to take things further. "I now feel it is the time for someone new to take the club forward as I feel I have taken it as far as I can," he stated. A short spell with English League One outfit Morecambe followed but St Mirren were able to prise him away after only 7 months in the job. 

Early on, some supporters wondered if it would work out. Robinson struggled to get his squad performing as he worked with Jim Goodwin's players. Ask the fans now though, and they are positively delirious at what the manager has achieved with notable crowds at every home game. 

Adopting his favoured back three, Robinson has cleverly adapted the positions of some key charges to implement his game plan. Marcus Fraser has moved from full-back to centre-half with an alacrity that falsely suggests he's played there all his life, adding recovery pace to the back line. Alex Gogic, a midfielder by trade, has been a revelation in the middle of defence. Meanwhile, wing-backs Scott Tanser and Strain have been outstanding, pushed high up the pitch to cause havoc with their pinpoint deliveries. What's clear is this manager has the ability to take players with him on a journey. There seems total buy-in, commitment, understanding and belief in the game plan.

Of course, it goes without saying that Robinson's St Mirren, like Motherwell before them, are tough to play against. They do the basics well. They win second balls. They are dangerous at set-plays and drilled off the ball. Perhaps it's a team missing a 15 goal a season striker - but it's clear they have a manager squeezing the last drop of effort from his charges.

It's inexplicable then that bigger clubs haven't been knocking more loudly at his door. It would be fascinating to see how Robinson would deal with the increased pressure and demand of an Aberdeen or Hearts. The evidence says he's a coach capable of adapting to circumstance.

There's a nagging doubt that the brutalist simplicity of his first Motherwell side was so indelible, some have written him off as someone who won't deliver the attractive brand of football fans in 2023 demand. 

There seems to me to be far more depth to the St Mirren manager than that, and you'd wager that if big Scottish clubs don't notice it soon, someone in England will.