St Mirren aim to go into World Cup break on high as Mark O’Hara highlights key fixture period

Mark O’Hara wants his Buddies to fly into the World Cup break by picking up wins in their next three matches.

St Mirren face a trio games in the space of eight days before football’s greatest showpiece kicks off in Qatar – starting with this Saturday’s trip to Ross County, a clash with St Johnstone and Rangers then visit Paisley.

After a drab defeat to Hibs last time out, O’Hara is determined to lead his side to what has become an increasingly rare away victory to ensure they head into the upcoming Premiership hiatus as high up the table as they possibly can.

The battling midfielder also insisted there’s no mental block hampering the Buddies on the road.

Speaking exclusively to Renfrewshire Live Sport, O’Hara said: “We’ve performed okay away from home but it’s one of these things we need to get over and get over quickly.

“It’s frustrating because we’ve got the players and a style that is suited to away games.

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“I don’t think it’s a mental thing. Outside of the changing room it might look like that, but on the pitch we’re not thinking anything about it.

“It’s 11 vs 11 and during that 90 minutes it’s irrelevant really, where you are playing.

“Hibs was so disappointing. We believed we could win that game but we were flat, it was an off day for us.

“It was unlike us. We definitely didn’t deserve to take anything from the game which is a real frustration.

“Now we’ve got a chance to put it right at Ross County. We can’t dwell on it and we’ve got a good chance for us to improve our away form.

“We’ve got three massive games coming up, three in the space of a week from Saturday.

“It’s such an important spell before the break and we’ve got to try and get as many points on the board as we can.

“The manager has spoken to us about it. We really want to be in that top six and this is a real chance for us to establish ourselves in these higher positions.

“We’ve got a great opportunity to do that if we can start picking up points again.”

While O’Hara, like the majority of Scottish footballers, will be watching the World Cup from home, the stand-in Saints skipper is hoping to see his team-mates Keanu Baccus and Ryan Strain jet off to Qatar to represent Australia.

Given St Mirren’s impressive start to the season the 26-year-old admits the strange timing of the tournament being played in the winter hasn’t been ideal for the Paisley club.

Nevertheless he’s sure the long break will be more bearable if the Buddies head into the break still sitting high in the Premiership standings.

O’Hara said: “I would love to see Ryan and Keanu make it to Qatar. They’ve both been outstanding for us this season and I think they deserve it.

“To have a couple of players from St Mirren involved in the World Cup would be amazing for everyone involved with the club.

“It’s a strange time for us to have the break, especially with where we are in the league.

“It’s unfortunate timing, but if we can get a couple of wins heading into it then we’ll be much happier to have the time off, reset and refresh.”


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Daily Record – Paisley