By Andrew Atkinson Leader Sport Exclusive
Scottish Premier League side St Mirren – set to arrive in Spain for pre-season games at Pinatar Arena next month – could be in limbo on the managerial front, after Oran Kearney did not attend the first day of pre-season training on Monday.
Kearney, 40, was reportedly told to stay away from the club that casts huge doubts over his future – after a reported fall out with the chairman, who is currently in America.
Kearney, who arrived at St Mirren less than ten months ago, when putting pen to paper on a three-year contract, was successful in keeping St Mirren in the SPL after a play-off win over Dundee United last season.
St Mirren finished 11th in the SPL last season, and it is understood Kearney wants to remain – but his wife and two children, who live in Northern Ireland, could prove to be a sticking point.
St Mirren Chief Executive Tony Fitzpatrick has played down talk that Kearney could return to Coleraine – after Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry indicated they had shown interest.
Kearney is deemed Coleriane’s summer target – to fill their managerial vacancy – if he departs St Mirren.
Kearney, who was in charge at Coleraine during 2011-18, would be welcomed back with open arms in a return to Northern Ireland.
Coleraine are looking for a new manager, in the wake of the departure of Rod McAree, who succeeded Kearney at the club.
Northern Ireland Football League Premiership club Coleraine failed to sign Dundalk assistant Ruaidhri Higgins in June.
Ironically, St Mirren are scheduled to play Coleraine in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, in the midst of Kearney’s future.
St Mirren players are unsure of Kearney’s future at the club, ahead of the 2019-20 season, after training took place at the club’s Ralston training base on Monday.
Sports scientist and former St Mirren player Junior Mendes, youth chief Allan McManus, goalkeeping coach Jamie Langfield and technical director Gus MacPherson took charge of training, in Kearney’s absence.
Paisley based St Mirren appointed Kearney in September, when replacing Alan Stubbs, after a poor start to the 2018-19 season, after just four games.
Now, St Mirren could be poised to search for their tenth manager – in nine years – if Kearney departs.
Bannsiders ex-boss, former Linfield midfielder Kearney, guided Coleraine to Irish Cup success in the 2017-18 season, prior to leaving the Showgrounds in a switch to St Mirren.
Ballymoney born Kearney, who lives in Ballycastle, was at home with his wife Lauren and two children, as St Mirren players reported back for training on Monday, June 24.
St Mirren – nicknamed The Buddies – are scheduled to play in pre-season friendlies at Pinatar Arena, during July 1-8, it being the club’s first visit to the Spanish resort’s stadium.