SAUCHIE defender Stewart Houston believes it is time for the players to start repaying the club's loyal fans by avoiding relegation from the Premier Division.

It has been a difficult start to the season for the Beechwood Park side who are battling the drop.

But the green shoots of recovery have started to appear, and Houston admitted it is about time the squad delivered some cheer for their hardcore band of followers.

He told Advertiser Sport: "We did deserve to be down at the bottom because our results weren't good enough at the start of the season, but now we are starting to turn things around we want to see how far we can go.

"We want to do ourselves justice and give something back to the fans.

"A lot of the time they are taking two or three buses to get to games come rain, hail or snow and that shows their dedication.

"You don't get a lot of people who would do that – but the Sauchie supporters are special.

"It's a loyal support and we want them to have a team to be proud of.

"When we lose a game our weekend is ruined, but as players we have to remember that it's the same for the fans. It's really important that we repay them the best way we can."

Houston reckons the squad are thriving following the return of Fraser Duncan to the Beechwood Park hotseat – and insisted they have more than enough quality to escape relegation.

He said: "I think by having a more senior figure there, the training has stepped up a level.

"There's a lot of desire from the boys to get in the team which is really helping.

"Martin came in and we were doing well in pre-season, but we were unlucky on the first day.

"We were unfortunate to draw because if you win you can really kick on.

"Conceding a late goal set the tone because it was a big blow and we got into a bit of a rut.

"We have been on the cusp of turning things around for a long time, but it's just a case of getting the monkey off your back.

"When you're down there you don't get a lot of luck but once you get that result you get a bit of momentum.

"It's hard to come back from a string of four or five games without a win but once you do it makes such a difference.

"In my mind I don't see it as a relegation battle. I think of it as seeing how far up the table we can go."