LEE Mair last night predicted a bright future for team-mate Marc McAusland after the duo helped the Buddies rack up another clean sheet against Hearts on Saturday.
McAusland and Mair are fast establishing themselves as Danny Lennon’s first-choice central defensive pairing and have played alongside each other in St Mirren’s last eight games.
There were fears the Buddies would be vulnerable at the back after star defender Darren McGregor suffered a serious knee injury during a draw with Dundee United at Tannadice back in August.
However, 23-year-old McAusland has stepped up to the plate and Mair believes his team-mate can get even better as the season continues.
The former Aberdeen man told Express Sports: “Marc came in after ‘Daz’ picked up an injury and he has shown how mentally tough he is.
“There was a bit of pressure on him when he came in but he’s slotted in no problem. He’s actually strolling through games now.
“The gaffer and Tommy Craig have to take a lot of credit too because Marc is now picking passes out and starting attacks for us.
“That’s what the manager and Tommy are looking for – someone to play the ball out from the back to get us going.
“Just imagine what Marc could do with another 50 or 60 games under his belt. He’s got all the tools and, with some more experience at this level, he could go on to bigger and better things.”
Mair, 30, is pleased to see young players making progress at St Mirren but also feels that experienced men, such as himself, Steven Thompson and Gary Teale, have a key role to play.
He explained: “We don’t have a big squad but we do have a talented squad. You only have to look at wee Joe McKee, who came in from Burnley. When you see him every day in training, he’s incredible.
“We have other young boys like Kenny McLean, who has come in and done really well.
“Marc McAusland is also in that bracket as he is an up-and-coming player and it’s good to have a mixture of experience and youth.”