St Mirren have been granted permission to speak to Jim Goodwin and hope to have their new boss in place by the time they kick-off their pre-season schedule on Friday night.
The Buddies finally announced the departure of Oran Kearney on Wednesday and immediately set their sights on luring their former club captain back to Paisley.
Press Association Sport understands Saints have been given the go-ahead to open talks with the Irishman by his current club Alloa.
The timing will be tight but if everything goes to plan the club’s board hope to see Goodwin – who skippered the club to their 2014 League Cup triumph – in the dug-out for Friday night’s clash with Northern Irish amateurs Rosario Juniors in Belfast.
Kearney admitted he was “gutted” to be leaving Saints after a bitter split with chairman Gordon Scott brought an end to his Paisley reign after just nine months.
The former Coleraine manager’s future had been in doubt since reports emerged at the weekend of a fall-out 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 heartfelt Twitter post, he said: “I am gutted. But my time was up, that was crystal clear.
“I gave 100 per cent 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 backroom 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.
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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