Interim manager Gary Teale admits it will be almost “impossible” for St Mirren to avoid automatic relegation from the Scottish Premiership.

Tuesday’s

5-0 defeat at Motherwell

left the Buddies 10 points adrift.

“Mathematically we’re still in with a shout,” Teale told BBC Scotland.

“But on the performances and the goals we’re conceding, added to the fact we’ve not really got a goal-scoring threat, it’s going to be nigh on impossible to get out of it.”

There are still 18 points up for grabs and the Paisley side host 10th-place Ross County on Monday, but there was little on show in the drubbing at Fir Park to suggest Saints have the stomach for the fight.

Lee Erwin and John Sutton both scored twice and Scott McDonald was also on the score-sheet for the Steelmen.

“Extremely disappointing,” said Teale. “Schoolboy errors for the goals and that’s why we’re sitting where we are. You can’t legislate for the errors we’ve been making this season, we’ve not been able to cut it out.

“There’s a lot of players out of contract in the summer. Can they look themselves in the mirror and think they gave everything for the club this year?”

Lee Erwin (left) was assisted twice by Lionel Ainsworth (right)

Lee Erwin (left) was assisted twice by Lionel Ainsworth (right)

Teale took over after the sacking of Tommy Craig in December and has only managed four wins from 17 matches, but had to deal with the loss of star player Kenny McLean to Aberdeen in the transfer window.

“I would have liked to have kept Kenny because I think that would’ve helped us,” added Teale. “He was a massive goal-scoring threat for us – scoring four goals in eight games when I took over.

“That’s football, you just need to deal with it. I don’t think it was just this season, but the tail end of last season as well. A lot more could have been done to help the club.”

Before Tuesday’s match at Fir Park, St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour conceded that the club’s board had made the “wrong decision” in appointing Craig last summer.

Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough

applauded the contribution of 21-year-old striker Erwin in getting his team off to such a good start.

“He’s getting better all the time and he’ll keep improving if he keeps doing the right things,” said Baraclough.

“Scott McDonald’s helped him in that respect and so has John Sutton. To see the three of them on the score-sheet tonight was pleasing.

“The three strikers all want to play; you can’t keep them all happy but they’re all firing. It’s pleasing for a manager to have selection headaches like that.”