St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson is not about to relax as the season winds down. He is preparing for season 2008-09 and has warned his players that they should be doing the same. The full squad will be constant scrutiny until the end of the season as MacPherson makes his plans on who he wants to have around Love Street next term. The fact that the Buddies lost out in the Scottish Cup to First Division St Johnstone will not have enamoured some players to the manager. While the players are relieved that the threat of relegation has been lifted, MacPherson has given his squad something else to worry about. He said: "That has not just suddenly materialised, it's been like that for four or five months, that they are playing for their futures. When you are coming out of contract, you have got to prove you are worthy of getting offered another one. Every single game a player is getting judged, every training session, the way they apply themselves, their professionalism is always getting tested. As individuals they can mistakes, we all make mistakes, but you have got to make sure you are professional."
MacPherson has urged his players to put Tuesday's cup defeat behind them and focus on climbing the table. Saints sit second bottom ahead of tomorrow's trip to Aberdeen. However, they have two games in hand on the teams above them in the bottom six. MacPherson said: "It's gone - history. We have got to realise we have 10 SPL games, that's what we have to look forward to. From an individual's point of view there is still plenty to play for. It still hurts but you have got to get over it. We are going to start looking at certain aspects of it towards next season, what players can do maybe in different areas of the park, and try to win games. It's always difficult in the SPL but we feel we have made progress not just in points total but in the manner we have played."
The progress made gave many Buddies fans hope of their first Scottish Cup semi-final in more than 20 years but MacPherson is adamant one defeat should not set them back. He said: "That is cup football, you have only got to look at results in recent weeks both north and south of the border. It doesn't make it any easier when you are on the end of one. But St Johnstone have good players and it's no coincidence that they have got to the semi-final two years on the bounce by beating SPL clubs. The disappointing thing is that we were at home and we didn't give ourselves a very good chance because we were 3-0 down after 28 minutes. That's the frustrating side of it - when you lose goals, and in that manner, you are not going to win games."
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