St Mirren 4-1 Kilmarnock: Shackles off Buddies - Gary Teale

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland at St Mirren Park
Steven Thompson scored twice from the penalty spot
Steven Thompson scored twice from the penalty spot

Manager Gary Teale believes St Mirren's "shackles" are off as he tipped them to fight against relegation to the very end of the Scottish Premiership season.

Teale believes his side have the stomach to catch 11th-placed Motherwell after a comprehensive 4-1 win against Kilmarnock.

"We've still got our belief and its up to us to put pressure on the teams above us," Teale told BBC Scotland.

"I've always had the enthusiasm and the passion that I can make this work."

The Buddies trail Motherwell by seven points with 12 available from their remaining Scottish Premiership matches.

"We've got four games left; hopefully we can get four wins and you never know where that could take us," said the former Scotland international.

"It's been a disappointing season but if we keep fighting to the end and if the boys put in performances like today then you never know. We'll just keep believing.

"I think everybody was kind of writing us off; they've been doing it over a number of weeks. Maybe today the players just thought the shackles were off.

"I've been saying all along to try and play with that freedom. Having a few of the younger boys in might've given us an edge - a wee bit enthusiasm in there. You throw them in and you get a performance like that."

Sean Kelly - playing at centre-back - put St Mirren ahead before ex-West Ham youngster Kieran Sadlier nodded in the Buddies' second.

Two Steven Thompson penalties then made Josh Magennis's goal for Kilmarnock relatively meaningless.

Nineteen-year-old Jack Baird was at the heart of the defence in what was only his fourth senior appearance and Thomas Reilly in midfield was another example of an emerging prospect starting for the Paisley side.

Kilmarnock's Manuel Pascali was upset with the award of two penalties
Kilmarnock's Manuel Pascali was upset with the award of two penalties

"I know the young talent that's coming through," added Teale.

"I know the targets that I want to get to try and get the team playing how I want to play - attractive, open football."

That type of football was lacking for Kilmarnock and manager Gary Locke made it clear how he felt about it afterwards.

"The first half was totally unacceptable," he told BBC Scotland.

"We were second best and we didn't start well enough. We responded a bit better in the second half and got back in the game, then obviously the two penalty decisions go against us.

"We can only apologise to our fans today that travelled in great numbers and deserved a better performance than what we showed in the first half.

"I'm just hoping it's a one-off because since I've had the job the boys have done very well.

"I'm not going to be a manager that accepts a first-half performance like that. We've given them a grilling there and the good thing is that they're all well aware of the situation we're in.

"On Monday we've got to make sure we rectify what went wrong today."

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