Tommy Craig: St Mirren manager 'hurting' at team's slide

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Interview - St Mirren manager Tommy Craig.

Tommy Craig insists his anguish at St Mirren's recent results "should never be underestimated".

The Buddies boss, whose side are level on points with the Scottish Premiership's bottom club Ross County, is without a win in five.

And supporters barracked the manager following Saturday's 3-0 loss to Hamilton Academical.

"Like everybody else, I'm hurting," he said. "Of course I don't enjoy not getting results."

Craig addressed fans at the club's annual meeting this week and has indicated his discomfort at some of the "vitriolic abuse" aimed his way at recent games.

But he explained: "It doesn't affect my greatly.

"That is in no way a sign that I don't care. Of course I care. I care deeply for the club. I love working here.

St Mirren's last five
Hamilton Academical 3-0 St Mirren (22 Nov)
St Mirren 0-1 Partick Thistle (8 Nov)
Dundee United 3-0 St Mirren (1 Nov)
St Mirren 2-2 Ross County (25 Oct)
St Mirren 0-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle (18 Oct)

"I've had highs and lows before. I've picked up silverware enough times throughout my career to satisfy me.

"I've also been in situations like the one we are in right now too. I treat them both with equal measure. I don't get too carried away.

"I believe in what I'm doing and that it is right, and hopefully in the very near future it will be proved correct.

"This is a big challenge - the biggest of my career, just because of where we find ourselves.

"I must face it head on and go hammer and tongs at it. If I do that, we can get out of this situation."

The Paisley side have a break from league action this weekend when they host Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

And Craig may be boosted by the return from injury of striker and captain Steven Thompson as well as midfielders John McGinn and Isaac Osbourne.

St Mirren players John McGinn and Steven Thompson
McGinn and Thompson may return for St Mirren against Inverness

"They are very close," said Craig of the trio.

"They trained again this morning, they've trained all week. I've just got to monitor the next 24 hours to see if there's any reaction at all to the work we've done this week.

"I'll give them as long as it takes.

"We can hopefully forget about points for the time being and maybe throw a wee bit more caution to the wind and have a go at Caley Thistle.

"I can use it as a motivation to say, 'look there's no massive pressure in terms of points but big pressure if you want to go further in the cup'."

Meanwhile, Inverness boss John Hughes is convinced "St Mirren will come good".

"Tommy Craig has been coming in for a bit of stick but you wouldn't want anybody else at the helm of your club," he said.

"He will be using all his experience to turn things around.

"Tommy was a mentor to me every time I was doing my coaching badges and I know what a good coach he is."

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