Monday 23 September 2019

'I'm gutted, but my time was up' - Oran Kearney reacts to St Mirren departure

Former St Mirren manager Oran Kearney. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.
Former St Mirren manager Oran Kearney. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Andy Newport

Oran Kearney admits he is "gutted" to be leaving St Mirren after just nine months in Paisley.

The Buddies finally concluded divorce talks with the Northern Irishman on Wednesday after announcing his reign been terminated by "mutual consent".

The former Coleraine manager's future had been in doubt since reports emerged at the weekend of a fall-out with chairman Gordon Scott over his plans to continue commuting across the Irish Sea from his family home in Ballymoney.

He was nowhere to be seen as the first-team squad returned to their Ralston training base to begin pre-season preparations on Monday amid suggestions he had been told to stay away.

But, now that his departure has been confirmed, Kearney insists he is leaving with his head held high.

In a Twitter post, he said: "I am gutted. But my time was up, that was crystal clear.

"I gave 100 percent commitment to the cause as I've done at any club I've been at as a player or manager.

"I am very proud of the job I did and the turnaround I made, just sad not to be seeing it through."

Kearney went on to thank his back-room staff and playing squad as well as Saints chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick and his wife Lauren for their efforts and support over his time at the club - but failed to mention Scott.

He concluded with a message to the Paisley faithful, writing: "I was overwhelmed with your support throughout the season and as we got stronger so did you.

"You will always have a place in my heart for the faith and backing you gave me and how you welcomed my family and friends.

"Together we rebuilt the important bonds needed between any club and supporter. I wish you all even better times ahead."

Saints announced Kearney's time was up in a curt two-line statement.

"The board can confirm that Oran Kearney has left the Club by mutual consent," it said. "The club wish to thank Oran for his time in charge and wish him every success in the future."

Kearney made his move to Paisley last September, signing a three-year deal to replace Alan Stubbs.

He saved the club from relegation, guiding Saints to a play-off victory over Dundee United last month.

But the writing appeared on the wall when he failed to report back along with the players on Monday.

Saints then cancelled a pre-season friendly with the 40-year-old's former club Coleraine, scheduled for Saturday.

Kearney is now expected to rejoin the Bannsiders, who are without a boss after axing his successor Rodney McAree two months ago.

Former St Mirren skipper Jim Goodwin is now the bookmakers' favourite to take over in the Buddies' hot seat.

Meanwhile, the club have made their first addition of the summer, re-signing goalkeeper Dean Lyness on a two-year deal. Defender Gary MacKenzie has also agreed a one-year contract extension.

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