Wing king Gary Teale took advantage of the SPL’s winter break to jet off on a family holiday to Dubai ... but admits St Mirren Park was never far from his thoughts.
With the top flight of Scottish football in cold storage for two weeks, Teale joined his wife and kids on a sun-kissed beach in a bid to recharge his batteries ahead of the second half of the 2012/13 campaign.
However, the former Scotland star found it hard to switch off during his Arabian adventure – because he’s so desperate to hoist his Buddies back into the top six of the SPL.
Teale, 34, explained: “I managed to get over to Dubai for a few days with the wife and kids, which was great, but I was itching to get back because it is a different mindset than the summer, when you can totally switch off.
“It’s something I have never done at this time of year and it was nice to get a break in the warm weather but you know you are still in the business and you are not really switching off.”
Teale also believes the SPL’s winter shutdown came at a bad time for the Buddies, who had bagged eight points out of a possible 12 over the festive season after recording wins over Motherwell and Dundee United and earning draws with Inverness Caley Thistle and Kilmarnock.
He added: “In terms of the momentum we had before the break, we would rather have carried on.
“It probably came at the wrong time for us.
“We were enjoying it and everyone seemed to be in a good place in terms of confidence.”
Teale now hopes his Buddies can get back to SPL action with a bang by taking all three points this afternoon when Ross County are the visitors to Paisley.
However, the former Derby County and Wigan man reckons the Highlanders will be tough to beat.
He said: “I like Ross County. They are a decent side and they seem to have a great team ethos, where they work hard for each other.
“That is why they have had their success over the last couple of seasons.
“They have also been fortunate enough to bring in a few players and there aren’t many teams who can actually do that.
“If we can get a good result against Ross County, we can maybe get close to the teams around fifth or sixth position – if other results go for us too.
“We need a consistent run of results and we will find ourselves further up the league but, with how tight the league is, other teams can say the exact same thing.”
Fans are reminded that today’s game, which is being broadcast live on Sky Sports, kicks off at 12.45pm, with ticket prices slashed to £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
Kids aged under 12 who are accompanied by a paying adult or a season ticket holder will get in for free.