CONNOR McManus has heard it all before – and he is fine with it.
Many so-called experts were tipping Stranraer for relegation last season and the club stayed up with games to spare.
Fast-forward 12 months and the midfielder is fine with people writing off his side once again as they battle to preserve their League One status.
He said: “I think there has got to be a siege mentality.
“Before the season started, there were teams and people tipping us to go down in terms of budget and all the rest of it.
“I don’t think too many teams like coming down here and that is the way it is.
“We have got to turn that to our favour and make this place almost horrible for teams to come and for us to be good here, I think we have got to use that to our advantage.
“The past three results, going unbeaten, hard to beat and stuffy, and with a wee bit of luck then we will be fine.”
Those past three results have seen Stranraer avoid defeat over three games for the first time this season.
Draws away to Airdrie and East Fife were backed up by a point against Dumbarton on Saturday when, on another day, perhaps, the Blues could have been celebrating all three.
McManus, who is the only man in the Stair Park squad to have started each game this season, felt the signs were promising.
He said: “Where we were maybe six weeks ago, if you had said two away games and taking two points and a point from Dumbarton, who to be fair, have been doing alright as well, it’s not the worst results in the world.
“I think it was just a case of getting that consistency together, the backline and getting the structure sorted, which we have.
“We know as a squad and as a coaching staff that we have to go and turn draws into wins and get goals up the other end of the pitch.
“Hopefully, we can go to Montrose next week and get a result there.”
Montrose demonstrate what a succession of positive results can mean for a side in League One.
This weekend’s opponents had not tasted victory in the league until a 4-3 triumph over Peterhead three games ago.
Since then, Stewart Petrie’s men have collected six points from six, with victories away to Clyde and Airdrie.
Those nine points have not only taken Montrose off the bottom of the table but up to eighth.
Speaking after the draw on Saturday, McManus said: “You have just seen with Montrose it is a case of getting that wee win that gives you that bit of belief and you never know.
“Getting bodies back in the squad and pushing together as well.
“Going into the winter period, particularly at home as well, if we continue the performances like we had today, that solidity, then I am sure we can pick up points.”
The 23-year-old is one of ten members of the Stair Park squad to have found the target this campaign.
In seasons gone by, Stranraer might have turned to Craig Malcolm, Martin Grehan or Jamie Longworth for goals.
In the absence of a deadly striker, the Blues are having to share the goals around the squad.
McManus, who found the net twice against Berwick Rangers, said: “I think anyone below the Premiership, if they score 15-20 goals they are not going to find themselves here for very long.
“That’s just the reality of the division.
“It’s not just the front four but if the full team can start to chip in and help out.
“I think today was a start in terms of a base.
“Lee Hamilton came in today and I thought he was excellent at the back and gave us a real base alongside Adam Cummins.
“As long as we can keep that side of it going as well, stop the goals going in, I’m sure we can start to pick up some points and get the goals that we need.
“We are getting in good areas, it is just a case of finishing it off.”
Photos: Bill McCandlish, Stranraer FC