Craig Levein feels his St Johnstone side have overcome their fears after battling to a vital 1-0 victory over Ross County in the cinch Premiership.
Graham Carey’s wonderful curling effort 19 minutes from time clinched the win for Saints and lifted them off the foot of the table and up to 10th.
Levein saw his team squander a 2-0 advantage in his first match in charge against Motherwell but there was no repeat as they held firm in the latter stages against the Staggies.
“I talked to them after the Motherwell game about us getting spooked, well I think we’ve dealt with the ghosts now and that is evidence enough that we can cope with pressure in a situation where we are in front,” said Levein.
“I can’t off the top of my head remember a clear-cut opportunity for Ross County so that pleases me enormously.
“The second half, I think we had more control of the game and what a goal to win any game – that’s the quality Graham has got.
“There’s some glimpses of good stuff, some really good things today but hopefully we can get more of them.“
St Johnstone have picked up seven points from their last three league fixtures, and Levein has his sights set on climbing the table.
Following the international break, the former Hearts boss will take his team to Tynecastle hoping to extend their undefeated run to four matches.
“It helps in the short term but we need to use it to put together a run where we can actually not just get off the bottom of the table,” he added.
“The ambition has got to be to try climb the table and that’s what we’ll try and do.”
Malky Mackay was disappointed as his side dropped into the relegation play-off position following a poor showing in Perth.
St Johnstone goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov was rarely troubled over the course of the 90 minutes, and the Staggies boss felt his side lacked the qualities that had seen them pick up a point from each of their previous three away league fixtures.
“When I look at it in the end, we didn’t have enough that were showing that extra little bit of responsibility today and that’s not like them – if nothing else we are a brave team,” he said.
“Over the last couple of weeks – the three away games at Dundee, Motherwell and Hibs – we’ve shown up really well.
“It was a scrappy game today, I said at half-time that one moment of quality was going to change this game between both teams and Graham Carey scores a very good goal.
“We just didn’t have that extra little bit of cutting edge and quality all over the park actually that we’ve shown in the last couple of weeks – especially away from home.”