It doesn’t take long to see the toll this year has taken on individuals, companies and communities around the nation by 2020.
Jak Alnwick sees himself as being one of the lucky ones. Life has, of course, been different, but the goalkeeper should look back on a prosperous first half of the season and look forward to the months ahead that, amid the dark clouds, offer a silver lining.
One of the success stories so far this season has been St. Mirren. On a losing note against Rangers, Jim Goodwin’s side ended the year, but victory over the same opposition secured them a spot in the Betfred Cup semi-finals.
And looking forward to the trip to Kilmarnock in early 2021, in the Premier League, they are seventh. Instead of the battle against relegation, it’s the fight for the top six positions that they should be focused on now.
That is definitely Alnwick’s target, and he is determined to raise the spirits of fans of Paisley who hope for better times in the New Year on and off the pitch.
“Before Wednesday we were second in the form table,” said Alnwick. We were 11 unbeaten before the loss at Hibs.
“It’s our goal to finish in the top six. As a team in this league, I don’t see the point in just worrying about survival.
“We play well at the end of the day, but we have to keep it up. We’re fighting for positions, and I think that’s really necessary.
I hope we can keep all of our players to finish sixth in January and win something as well.
“For everyone, 2020 was a rough year. There’s no arguing that away.
Yet we’re fortunate to have our jobs. There are individuals who have lost their jobs and have lost members of their families. For us, going out and playing soccer every day is a luxury.
We look forward to everyday practice and look forward to playing games. We hope we can get the fans back in 2021 when it is safe to do so.
We are in a great competition in the semifinals and in a strong spot for the club to continue in the season.
“We’re not going to look behind us and think we’ve done brilliantly so far. It’s not good to do that and then not win a game until the end of the season. We have to keep going and hopefully we can.”
In the summer, the team Goodwin assembled still looked more likely than finishing in the bottom half of it to contend in the midfield of the table.
The theory took some time to come to fruition, but in October, a trip to Pittodrie served as a catalyst for an inspiring and impressive run.
“We went to Aberdeen and ended up not even getting a point from a game we should have won,” said Alnwick. “We wanted to put teams under pressure from then on and play aggressively.
The midfield guys were amazing and we’ve got a solid back four. With our best eleven on the field, it’s no coincidence that we were a good team – without Covid and without injuries.
We had such a good run. This season, a lot of things have gone against us, but we’ve stayed together, and I think that’s what you see on the pitch.
“The only thing we can control is what we can control. Regardless of what is happening with the pandemic off the field, we all need to play soccer.
“There were stuff that got us down a little bit, of course. We were in the relegation position at one point.
“But the coach signed the guys who were captains already. Many of the guys on defense were captains of the squad. With characters like that, in soccer, you go a long way.