Stephen Robinson admits he’s looking forward to an emotional return to Motherwell on Saturday but says his full focus will be on the high-stakes Premiership clash before he catches up with old friends.
Robinson spent three years as manager at Fir Park, having two spells on the coaching staff before that, and was a popular figure at the club, leading them to two cup finals and into Europe.
Now manager of St Mirren, he’ll take a place in the opposition dugout for the first time this weekend and says he’s looking forward to being back at Motherwell.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I loved my time there and I still have a very good relationship with everyone at that football club.
“I have got utmost respect for Motherwell Football Club and the fans and the board who were very, very good to me.
“For 90-plus minutes my sole focus will be on football and St Mirren getting three points and hopefully giving us a chance to look up the table.”
There’s little margin for error for either side as they take part in a fascinating battle to reach the top six.
With two games to go before the split, only four points separate fourth-placed Dundee United and tenth-placed Aberdeen in the table.
Motherwell and St Mirren sit in eight and tenth respectively with an identical points tally and goal difference. A win for either side would be a massive boost for top six hopes and likely resign the loser to the bottom half.
“I would like to play down a bit but no – it is huge,” Robinson said.
“It is a huge game. Nobody in the last three or four games has gone and put a run together and nailed their place in the top six.
“It is very much all to play for. I think it shows where everybody is, it all much of a muchness. Nobody has taken the bull by the horns and guaranteed their place.
“Every game that is played over the weekend will be a big, big game and we will be feeling exactly the same.”
While the team have still to determine where they end up in the league, Robinson is also looking at the long term futures of some of his squad. He admits there have been different responses to new contract offers so far but says that’s the nature of the league.
“We have put offers in front of a lot of people and there has been some good feedback and some have made decisions not to sign,” Robinson said.
“Most clubs in this country outside of the top three have players who are getting offered contracts and getting their heads turned by other football clubs.
“That is part and parcel of the game and it’s certainly not exclusive to ourselves.
“There is some good news, some bad news but it is just a strange situation just now where nothing is finalised and you don’t know exactly who is staying and who is going.”