St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin has confirmed Irish midfielder Jamie McGrath will be fit much sooner than feared after he was stretchered off against Rangers on Sunday.

The Buddies star had to be carried off the pitch after suffering a hip injury and Goodwin hopes he’ll be back in action next week.

McGrath will miss tomorrow’s game against Motherwell as well as this weekend’s Premiership clash with Dundee – but he should return to training ahead of facing St Johnstone on November 6.

“We’re pleased to say it’s not as bad as was first feared,” Goodwin said as he previewed tomorrow’s game.

“I think the images at the weekend – when you see any player going off on a stretcher – you fear the first.

“It was a precaution more than anything else, he’s had his scan and it seems to have settled down a lot.

“I don’t think it’ll be a long-term thing, hopefully a couple of weeks and Jamie should be back amongst things.”

After the death of Walter Smith was confirmed earlier today, Goodwin paid a touching tribute to the former Rangers, Everton and Scotland manager.

On behalf of everybody here at St Mirren we would like to pass on our deepest condolences to not only the Rangers family but, of course, more importantly, Mr Smith’s immediate family – his wife, kids and the grandkids.,” said Goodwin.

“I’m sure they’ll all be hurting right now, but no doubt very proud to have had Mr Smith in their family.

“He’s been one of the most successful Scottish managers of all time and I’ve had the pleasure of being in his company on a couple of occasions.

“I knew that I was in the presence of real greatness.

“He came on a coaching course that I did and he had the whole room in the palm of his hand with the stories he was telling and the education that he was giving us.

“Everybody was in awe listening to him – you could hear a pin drop in the room when he spoke.

“He seemed like a very humble man, had time for everyone and, obviously, knew the game inside out.

“To have had the level of success he had with Rangers, in the English Premier League with Everton and managing his country it’s incredible what he’s managed to do in the game.
“He was a great ambassador for the Scottish game and for Rangers Football Club and will be sadly missed by everybody.

“I had a wee thought for Sir Alex Ferguson this morning when I heard the news because I know they were very close.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Alex a couple of seasons ago as well and he was talking about Mr Smith so my heart goes out to him.

“Things like this bring the whole football community together and you see the best of football at times like this.

“Rivalries are all put aside.

“Walter Smith was very close with Tommy Burns as well, god rest him, and they worked very close together with the national team.

“Although everybody will be deeply saddened with the news, his family more so than anybody, I think it’s also a really good time to celebrate the life of someone who has given so much to Scottish football.”

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