Confirmed: Coleraine manager Oran Kearney makes 'right move' to join St Mirren
Long-serving Coleraine manager Oran Kearney has joined Scottish top division side St Mirren on a three-year-deal.
Kearney had been interviewed for the Buddies job during the summer but lost out to former Celtic defender Alan Stubbs.
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Stubbs left the club on Monday following a poor start to the season and Kearney was offered the chance to replace him at St Mirren Park.
Kearney's backroom team of William Murphy, Paul Owens and Trevor McKendry will take charge of the club's Irn Bru Cup tie against Formartine United on Saturday evening (kick-off 7.45pm at the Showgrounds). It is as yet unclear whether any staff will make the move along with Kearney.
Kearney leaves his club top of the Irish Premiership following a 3-0 victory over Crusaders at Seaview on Monday night.
He first took charge at Coleraine in 2011 and led them to Irish Cup success and second in the table last year, losing out on the title to Crusaders on the final day.
Speaking to stmirren.com, Kearney said: "Its been a rollercoaster 72 hours to be honest. It's all been very surreal.
"I had an interview in the summer that went well and I got a really good feeling about the people in charge at the club. I didn't get the job at that point but I said what's for you won't go by you and here I am. There were a few things I had to sort out but I feel at this stage it's the right move for me and I can't wait to get started."
Kearney's first game in charge of St Mirren will be at home to Celtic next Saturday and the game will be broadcast live on BT Sports.
The former Linfield stalwart works as teacher in Coleraine and will have to give up the position to move across the Irish Sea.
Kearney went on to thank his players, whose 'consistency in the last 18 months' he credits with earning him the move and his 'rock' of Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry.
There have been sticky periods to Kearney's tenure at the Bannsiders, but the man himself paid tribute to McKendry's 'vision and stubbornness', saying "I owe everything to him."
Speaking to the Coleraine FC website, he concluded: “Finally I would like to thank the fans as it’s been a rollercoaster but I feel like things started to turn when they bought into the fact that we were developing young players and it restored a lot of pride and had a good feel about it. The songs that they sing are absolutely loved by the players and the noise that they made the other night was unbelievable. Our Irish Cup win is a moment that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
Coleraine will now turn their attentions to appointing a new manager who can sustain their good start to the season.
St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick said: "We are absolutely delighted to have Oran in as our new manager. He is a highly impressive individual and I look forward to working with him."
Belfast Telegraph Digital