St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott claims everyone knew Oran Kearney was heading for Coleraine and his departure was entirely the former manager’s choice.
Scott was frustrated at the timing of Kearney’s exit, which was announced by “mutual consent” on June 26, a month after the Buddies survived a relegation play-off. Kearney was re-appointed Coleraine manager seven days later.
The Ballymoney-based manager had wanted to commute to Scotland daily and Scott claimed a compromise proved insufficient to keep the Northern Irishman at Paisley.
Scott, who quickly appointed Jim Goodwin as Kearney’s replacement, said: “It was the worst-kept secret in Scottish football that he was going.
“We knew he was going and were prepared for it. We did all our due diligence on the new manager, we organised pre-season training in spite of him, not with him.”
Scott added: “He wanted to stay but under the right conditions. He wanted to commute literally on a daily basis, which again to me was not acceptable.
“We started various conversations about it and as far as I was concerned it had been resolved. We came to a compromise and moved on but that obviously wasn’t enough for him.
“It was his choice, completely his choice.
“I can understand it completely but the only thing that annoyed me was the timing of it.
“I had literally just arrived in America and was looking forward to having some fun over there and then had to spend the first six or seven days dealing with the fallout.
“It should have been sorted the last day. Maybe he wasn’t 100 per cent wanting to go but if you look at the Coleraine job, it’s pretty obvious he was always going there.
“Fortunately we had anticipated it and prepared for it and it’s not affected us in any way, other than perhaps signing wise, we are not quite where we want to be, but in every other way we are where we want to be.”
Kearney declared he was “gutted” after the announcement was made.
Scott said: “I think he genuinely was gutted. He would have liked this to work, but his family life is big for him, obviously.
“I can understand it and I can understand why he wants to go back to Ireland, everyone can understand that. The only disappointing thing for me was the manner in which it was done. ”
Kearney had developed a strong bond with the Saints fans but Goodwin already has that having captained the club to League Cup glory in 2013 during a five-and-a-half year playing stint.
“It’s massive,” said Scott. “You sometimes realise the best manager for the job is not always the most experienced manager, he’s not always the guy that has done the most.
“You realise as you go along, everything you do in this game you learn a bit from it.
“Oran was brilliant at engaging with the fans and it was more important we got someone like that again.
“Jim obviously ticks every box but if he wasn’t the right guy for the job, he wouldn’t get the job.
“No matter how much it takes the pressure off me personally, we wouldn’t do it purely to appease the fans. I would take whatever came with it, but he is the right man for the job.
“He wants to be here, that was the big thing for me. This is the job he wanted, and he wanted to do it at the right time as well. Now is the right time.
“He has shown with Alloa he can play attractive football, he can play defensive football if he has to, he can survive in a league where he’s not favourite to stay up.
“He has all the attributes we need to take the club forward.”
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