Cammy MacPherson is confident that St Mirren can secure Ladbrokes Premiership survival with less stress than last season.
The Buddies are sitting in 10th place, four points ahead of bottom side Hearts following the 2-1 home defeat by Celtic on Boxing Day.
MacPherson’s late free-kick which was deflected past Hoops keeper Fraser Forster proved only a consolation for the spirited home side after goals from Callum McGregor and James Forrest had given the league leaders a deserved interval lead.
Saints fought off relegation last season with a tense and dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Dundee United in the play-off final in Paisley after the two sides finished 1-1 on aggregate, with the Taysiders consigned to a fourth season in the Championship.
Ahead of the home game against Kilmarnock on Sunday – the last of the calendar year – the 20-year-old midfielder, who came through the youth system at the Paisley club, revealed his optimism about the rest of the season.
MacPherson said: “I would say we are probably a better team than last year because we are competing every week.
“Maybe except for Motherwell (0-3), there are not any games where we have looked off the pace so I think we have a good chance this season.
“I thought we did well in the second half against Celtic so we will take some positives from that.
“We gave as good as we got in the second half and when you are doing that against Celtic you can take confidence.”