Football

Kyle Gunn: Consistency on the Park and in the Dugout Has Been the Key For St. Mirren

Kyle Gunn: Consistency on the Park and in the Dugout Has Been the Key For St. Mirren

By Kyle Gunn – @Kyle_Gunn97

Tommy Craig, Gary Teale, Ian Murray and Alex Rae. Four permanent St. Mirren managers who all have one thing in common, short reigns in charge of the Paisley side, in fact just the 26 months as outright gaffer between them.

Scottish League Cup winning boss Danny Lennon departed the club in May 2014 as he was not being offered a new contract after four years in the job.

The Hampden triumph in March 2013 over Hearts was St. Mirren’s first bit of national silverware in 26 years and that was as good as it was going to get over the next few years.

Relegation followed the next year with Saints dropping out of the top flight with the first part of the season managed by Lennon’s former number two Tommy Craig.

But with the ex Celtic assistant fired after only 19 games. It was down to veteran winger Gary Teale and then Head of Youth Development David Longwell to take the team for the rest of the 2014/15 campaign.

Through no fault of their own Teale and Longwell were unable to stop the team plummeting into the Scottish Championship. Which also saw the departure of some of the club’s top young talent including Kenny McLean and John McGinn

It was then the turn of rising Dumbarton manager Ian Murray, who didn’t manage a single home league win in his six months in charge. Murray quit the role after a defeat away to the club he left to join Saints.

Ex-Rangers midfielder and Dundee boss Alex Rae was next to enter the revolving door of Buddies bosses. He guided Saints to sixth spot but after a win-less streak of nine games at the beginning of the last season he was himself dismissed with under 20s coach Allan McManus taking interim control

St. Mirren then turned to their former defender Jack Ross and Saints fans could have been forgiven for thinking that the same thing was happening again. He wasn’t able to achieve maximum points until December 2016 on a Tuesday night in Palmerston.

And things haven’t looked back since. St. Mirren picked up an incredible 26 points from the last 42 available to beat the drop at the back end of last season and now the ex-Alloa boss could be set to take Saints back to the Scottish Premiership, after continuing the form into this campaign, and currently having a 14 point gap at the top of the Championship.

So what’s the difference now? Well four permanent managers and a couple of interim bosses in a two year period between 2014 and 2016 isn’t going to help anyone.

It doesn’t give the players and manager a long time to gel, and get their ideas across to each other. The board probably deserve a lot of credit for not having a knee jerk reaction to the slow start under Jack Ross, especially given that another relegation looked a real possibility at the time.

In stark contrast the prospect of promotion now looms large and over the last 16 months everything has looked to  have a real routine, and rhythm. Jack has been able to keep the majority of his players and rekindle a relationship with the fans.

The main reason for the revival is, in my opinion, the consistency and not only in team selection and, performance level on the field but much importantly more importantly in the dugout too.

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