After losing out to Alan Stubbs when applying for the St Mirren job in June 2018, it’s ironic that Oran Kearney took his place. What beggars belief is how St Mirren can choose two managers and neither can seem to get it right between them.
Stubbs’ Saints stint
In fairness to Kearney, Stubbs dismantled a squad that had romped to promotion under Jack Ross, now manager at Sunderland. Thirteen players came in under the former Hibs manager and it appeared from their start that it’d be catastrophic.
They advanced out of their Betfred Cup group, just. They wouldn’t have qualified had they not won both games on penalties against part-timers Spartans and Queen’s Park. The Buddies did win on the opening day at home to Dundee though.
Yet tricky fixtures followed away at Rangers, home to this season’s surprise package Livingston and away to Hearts. Three consecutive defeats and a first-half Steven Naismith hat-trick pretty much put the nail in Stubbs’ coffin. The Scouser left following two wins in nine matches in charge.
Kearney’s current catastrophe
Onto the man who replaced him, Oran Kearney did at least bring St Mirren their one saving grace this season in Adam Hammill.
That being said, he did leave for Scunthorpe United this month so it was only a temporary bonus. They also got off to an encouraging start by holding reigning champions Celtic to a 0-0 draw despite their numerical advantage in Kearney’s first match.
Kearney’s win percentage in 20 matches is 15% (three victories), worse than his predecessor despite having over double the amount of games. You can understand why they were struggling given it wasn’t his team of players he’d signed.
However, that argument is now out the window as seven of the starting 11 against Hibs on Sunday were his own players that he brought to the club, including goalscorer Simeon Jackson. It appears a frantic recruitment process has resulted in quantity over quality.
Again, a cup victory somewhat papers over the cracks. After being seemingly en route to a Scottish Cup exit at the hand of former Buddie Jim Goodwin’s Alloa Athletic, their dramatic comeback hides their dreadful league standing. From 2-0 down, they grabbed two late goals to win 3-2. Perhaps there is some character in Kearney’s team, they just need to show it.
There won’t be many, if any, that fancy St Mirren at Ibrox this weekend. They have to get things right sooner or later to pull out of relegation trouble.
They need points and they need them as soon as possible.