St Mirren: Tommy Craig prays for missing players' return

St Mirren players Marc McAusland and Jeroen Tesselaar are dejected at the final whistle
St Mirren have only taken one point at home this season after losing 1-0 to Partick Thistle

Tommy Craig has warned that St Mirren could endure a prolonged testing spell until key players return from injury.

But he insists that he can steer his team clear of relegation trouble.

"We will do, yes, of course we will," the manager told BBC Scotland after the 1-0 home defeat by Partick Thistle left the Paisley side equal bottom.

"If I could fast-track those players three or four weeks, I'd be in a lot better frame of mind. Up until that happens, we've just got to soldier on."

Player-coach Jim Goodwin was suspended for Thistle's visit, with John McGinn, Ellis Plummer, Isaac Osbourne, Steven Thompson and Gregg Wylde again missing out through injury.

"When you consider the calibre of player that's out the team just now, every one would be a first pick," said Craig.

The Buddies manager pinpointed a lack of goals this season, with Thompson in particular being a big miss since the striker picked up an injury back in August.

"We have the players here to play the football I want," he said. " But we are missing our talisman and, until we solve that problem, we are going to find it difficult.

"It is really difficult for our defenders just now because they know that one goal can beat us and that's an uncomfortable position.

St Mirren manager Tommy Craig
"The fans will be driving home going off their head witnessing once again the fact that one goal is enough."

"I'm frustrated because I know we're capable of scoring goals given the right personnel.

"It's a tall order, a tough task. But, given the bodies back, I believe I can turn this around."

Ross County's 3-0 win away to Kilmarnock lifted the Dingwall side level on points with St Mirren.

Craig admitted that he was under pressure but stressed that he shared the pain of the club's supporters.

"The fans will be driving home going off their heads witnessing once again the fact that one goal is enough," he said.

"As long we continue in this vein, there's going to be frustration and anger and disappointment.

St Mirren manager Tommy Craig shows his frustration
Tommy Craig stepped up from assistant to take over at the start of the season from Danny Lennon

"I think the fact that the players are relatively young means it doesn't affect them that much and I've told them to leave the pressure to myself and the experience players.

"And, to a man, they've actually done really well in the circumstances.

"They don't show a lot of fear or anxiety in their play, which tells me they believe in what they are being asked to do."

Craig added that he was hopeful that the break from league duty for international games would "give the guys who are out the team injured a chance to get near to a full recovery".