St Mirren: Gary Teale ready to use youngsters with eye on drop
St Mirren manager Gary Teale admits he is on the brink of preparing for life in the Scottish Championship after a 3-0 defeat by Ross County.
The Buddies remain 10 points drift of Motherwell at the bottom with five games left to play.
"We maybe need to freshen it a wee bit and we have the option of a few boys coming through the academy," he said.
"Maybe try to look at next season, try to blood them, get them a few games and see if they can cope with it or not."
However, the 36-year-old stressed that "it is maybe too soon to make that decision before the next game".
St Mirren are now guaranteed to finish in the bottom two places, but they could still catch Well to avoid automatic relegation and instead face a Championship side in an end-of-season play-off.
Teale, who was promoted after Tommy Craig was sacked in December, bemoaned the strength of the squad he inherited.
And he pointed out "the amount of players I tried to get in the January transfer window and for one reason or another they've ended up at other Premiership clubs".
"I don't think there was much in the game up until we lose the goal," he told BBC Scotland.
"I think it's been the story of the season - the goals that we concede are very, very soft.
"It has been a hard-luck story for us right from the start of the season.
"We were cancelling one another out and then we switch off, concede a goal and the confidence seems to get drained out of us.
"I think they gave the best they can give and that's all I can ask and we just need to try to pick ourselves up."
The Paisley side have lost eight of their last nine matches, but chairman Stewart Gilmour played down suggestions that Teale's position was up for discussion at Tuesday's regular board meeting.
"Gary's been appointed to the end of the season and, until we know where we are, that's that," he said before kick-off.
"A lot of decisions will not be made until the position is clear cut and some of them won't be easy."
Gilmour, who last week admitted that appointing Craig had been a mistake, was unhappy at the criticism aimed at the St Mirren board following a poor season.
"I still think we've made far more right decisions than we've made wrong ones," he said.
"Some of the criticism has been a bit personal, which is extremely disappointing.
"All the guys in our boardroom are St Mirren fans, I can assure you, and every single one of them is hurting at the moment."