MX23RW : Wednesday, March 20 15:45:37

Buddies would be buried by now if I hadn't wielded the axe - Kearney

St Mirren have lost their last six matches in the Ladbrokes Premiership to leave themselves three points adrift at the foot of the table.

Oran Kearney claims St Mirren's relegation fight would be "dead and buried" had he not performed radical surgery to his squad in January.

The Northern Irishman has been battling to steer the Buddies away from the Ladbrokes Premiership dropzone since he was called in to clear up the mess left by Alan Stubbs.

The former Coleraine boss slashed away at a dysfunctional squad in a bid to bring in the players he believed could save Saints' season.

Twelve were jettisoned last month, with 11 new faces brought in but so far that turnaround has not produced the spark Kearney was hoping for, with the club on a run of six successive league defeats.

But Kearney is convinced his side would already be on their way back to the Championship had he not wielded the axe.

He said: "We're just looking for that one result to act as a catalyst.

"Just look at what Motherwell have achieved in the last month. All of a sudden they have put a run of three or four results together and it's catapulted them into a different place in the league.

"We're still holding on and craving the hope we can do the same and get one big result, one big performance that can become a turning point for us.

"But we're not sitting about hoping for that to happen – there's a huge urgency to try and bring it about.

"Obviously there's been a big turnaround in players. There's a settling-in period that goes with that which means there has to be a slight sense of patience.

"That gelling-in period has to happen instantly now – we needed it yesterday."

Kearney's team remain three points adrift at the bottom of the table with 13 games left to claw their way to safety, starting against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday.

"We know we have 13 games left and that we'll need our biggest haul of points yet this season to get out of the position we're in," added Kearney.

"But I'm not worried. There's no point worrying. I give every day 100 per cent and I've done that in the transfer window, too.

"It's been a savage amount of hours put into making sure we've got a chance of surviving because for me, if we had sat where we were with the group of players that we had, we'd already be dead and buried.

"Call it a gamble if you want but I think by making the changes we did we've given ourselves a fighting chance."

The loss of Lee Hodson to an ankle injury is a blow Kearney could have done without but he hopes the Saints faithful have not seen the last of the on-loan Rangers defender.

"Lee has gone back to Rangers for treatment and it looks like he'll be out for another eight weeks," he explained. "There's a question mark on whether he'll get to play again this season.

"We're definitely not giving up hope. He's still contracted to us to the end of the season and if he does reach a point where he's ready to go then we'll keep that door open."

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