Championship preview

Jack Ross says his St Mirren players have rediscovered their swagger after finally grabbing his first win as Buddies boss.

The Paisley side claimed a 2-1 victory over Ayr last Saturday to book a place in the last four of the Irn-Bru Cup.

Now after opening his Saints stint with four straight Ladbrokes Championship defeats, the 40-year-old hopes his players can use their new-found self-belief to claim their first league victory of the campaign when the basement boys host Dunfermline this weekend.

He told stmirren.com: ” I think it’s natural that the players have a lift from achieving a positive result.

“I spoke post-Dumbarton about how the reaction in training had been from a good performance in the main so the last two weeks have been really encouraging in that sense. There’s definitely been an increase in quality in training which has been encouraging as well.

“I think that the players are beginning to adjust to the way we would like them to try and play. That required a certain change in tempo at training and I think they’ve adjusted to that. Now they are starting to see the rewards from playing that way, albeit that the Dumbarton result didn’t go our way, but the performance deserved a better result.

“We showed a lot of analysis after that game that reinforced that so I’ve been really pleased with the last two performances because I think we’ve dominated those games.

“We still want to get even better particularly in the final third and we’ve worked a lot on that in training. But they go into the Dunfermline game in a good frame of mind and they’ve been really buoyant in training.”

Queen of the South will be hoping to fire themselves back into promotion contention when they travel to Leith to face leaders Hibernian.

The Dumfries outfit led the way earlier this season but have not managed a win in their last six league games and Jim Thomson has taken over as caretaker boss following the departure of Gavin Skelton.

Now Hibs boss Neil Lennon hopes to heap more agony on the Doonhamers.

He told HibsTV: “They had a great start to the season but it was always going to be difficult for them to maintain that.

“Unfortunately they have lost their manager but Jim is holding the ship steady at the minute.

“I expect them to counter-attack well. They have pace in wider areas and have a goal threat with Stephen Dobbie up front. They have good energy in midfield and defensively they are a tough nut to crack.

“But they are lacking a bit of confidence at the minute and hopefully we can capitalise on that.”

Morton will hope to make it five games unbeaten and close the gap on second-placed Dundee United when they host the Tangerines at Cappielow.

Raith Rovers, who sit a point behind the Ton in fourth, also remain in the hunt for promotion and will hope to put pressure on the sides above them when they travel to Dumbarton.

Fifth-placed Falkirk need a win over Ayr this weekend if they are to fire fresh life into their play-off hopes after four games without a win.

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