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Former St Mirren defender Lee Mair backs Jim Goodwin to replace Oran Kearney

Former St Mirren defender Lee Mair backs Jim Goodwin to replace Oran Kearney
© Reuters
The Alloa boss is the clear favourite to replace axed Oran Kearney in the Saints hotseat.

Lee Mair insists there will be no repeat of the mistakes that set St Mirren on the path to relegation if they bring Jim Goodwin back to Paisley.

The Alloa boss has been given permission to hold talks with his old club as they begin their search for axed Oran Kearney’s replacement.

The Irishman was the first Buddies captain in 26 years to get his hands on silverware when he led Danny Lennon’s team to League Cup glory in 2013.

And he was promoted to player-coach under Tommy Craig when Lennon was replaced 18 months later.

But the partnership flopped, with Craig sacked after just 19 games in charge and Goodwin relieved of his coaching duties as caretaker manager Gary Teale tried unsuccessfully to save the club’s top-flight status.

However, former Saints defender Mair insists Goodwin should not be blamed for the costly decisions made by Craig as he insisted his old team-mate is the outstanding candidate to take over from Kearney.

“Tommy did things his way – it was his way or no way,” Mair told Press Association Sport.

“Yes Jim was in there as his assistant but I think that was just to keep people sweet because folk were not happy about Tommy getting the job after Danny left.

“But don’t worry, if Jim gets the job he will do things how he believes they should be done this time.”

Goodwin’s methods have proved shrewd so far.

He made the move into management in October 2016 when Jack Ross made his own switch to Saints and succeeded in guiding the Wasps to promotion via the Ladbrokes League One play-offs the following campaign.

He followed that up by managing to keep the Clackmannanshire outfit in the Championship despite being the only part-time team in the division.

Mair said: “Goodie’s a very good candidate considering his background and connections with the club plus what he’s done over the last couple of years at Alloa.

“It doesn’t surprise me to see him being the favourite for the job.

“What he did at Alloa was incredible. But what impressed me was the way he did it. It would be easy as a manager of a part-time team in a full-time division to just say, ‘OK, let’s be horrible to play against and look to scrape points here and there’.

“But Jim actually kept Alloa up last year by playing good football and for that reason it would be no surprise if St Mirren decide he’s the man they want.”

Kearney proved a popular figure amongst the Buddies faithful after cleaning up the mess left by Alan Stubbs last summer and rescuing the club from relegation.

But the 40-year-old has lost his job on the back of a fall-out with chairman Gordon Scott.

A curt two-line statement failed to divulge the reasons for the Northern Irishman’s departure but they are understood to centre on his desire to continue commuting from his home across the Irish Sea.

The saga has left the fans bewildered but Mair reckons Goodwin is the man to heal any potential rift growing between the terraces and the boardroom.

“The fans are frustrated because they don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “There are rumours flying about and they grow arms and legs.

“We just need to wait for the club to come out and explain what the issues were and why it took so long to sort out.

“That will come out in the wash but right now the focus should be on getting the next appointment right because it’s a big one.

“Kearney did well and kept the club in the Premiership. But it’s time now for St Mirren to have a bit of stability and Jim can provide that.

“I think it’s nine managers the club has had in the last 10 years so they need someone to now come in for the long-term and build a structure. They need to get someone in to get things going again and get people talking about football rather these summer shenanigans that seem to happen year in year out.”

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