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Coleraine wait on Kearney's St Mirren interview as boss rivals McCoist

By Steven Beacom

Coleraine will know by the end of the week if they need a new boss with Oran Kearney set to be interviewed for the vacant manager's job at Scottish Premiership new boys St Mirren.

While proud to be in charge of resurgent Coleraine, it is understood that Kearney is determined to do his homework ahead of speaking to the Saints board and give it his best shot.

The opportunity for Kearney to persuade Love Street chiefs to offer him a full-time job comes after a brilliant season when the Bannsiders finished runners-up to Crusaders in the Premiership and won their first major trophy since 2003 beating Cliftonville 3-1 in the Irish Cup final.

Kearney was recommended to St Mirren by Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill, who is a big admirer of the 39-year-old.

The former Linfield midfielder faces stiff competition in his quest with a host of well known figures in Scottish football also keen to take over from Jack Ross, who after leading the Buddies to promotion from the Championship moved to England jumping into the hotseat at Sunderland.

Rangers legend Ally McCoist has stated he would like to talk to St Mirren while ex-Ross County boss Jim McIntyre, former Hearts supremo Robbie Nielson, Alan Stubbs, previously in charge of Hibs and one-time ex-Wigan manager Gary Caldwell have all been linked to the role along with former Real Madrid hero Guti.

Interviews are expected to begin tomorrow and will also take place on Wednesday before St Mirren make a decision on who should lead them against the likes of Steven Gerrard’s Rangers and Brendan Rodgers at Celtic.

Should Kearney be given the nod, he would become the FIFTH Northern Ireland manager in Scotland’s top flight joining Rodgers, Neil Lennon (Hibernian), Tommy Wright (St Johnstone) and Stephen Robinson (Motherwell).

The Saints approached Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry last week asking for permission to speak to Kearney, a full-time teacher, who has been in charge of the Bannsiders since 2011.

McKendry granted permission and, although he would love Kearney to stay, the Bannsiders chairman is aware how tempting an opportunity like this would be and also believes that his friend would excel in full-time football.

“Oran will leave no stone unturned in getting detail and background on the St Mirren team,” said McKendry.

“He will educate himself about the club and I think he has to go through the process to find out what’s involved managing at that level.

“While it would leave a massive void for Coleraine, if he gets the job I would be 100% confident that Oran would be successful managing in the Scottish Premiership.

“It may not lead anywhere but it could be quite the opposite and Oran could be offered the job.

“Look at how well Tommy Wright has done with St Johnstone and he used to manage in the Irish League. Also there are Northern Ireland men like Brendan Rodgers, Neil Lennon and Stephen Robinson who have proved big successes in Scotland, so the game over there suits managers from our country.”

Belfast Telegraph

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