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Oran Kearney appoints Northern Ireland coach Jimmy Nicholl to aid St Mirren survival bid

Jimmy Nicholl
Jimmy Nicholl
Oran Kearney secured a 0-0 draw with Celtic in his first match in Scottish football but has endured a tough spell since.

Oran Kearney has brought in Northern Ireland assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl in a bid to help St Mirren stave off relegation from the Scottish Premiership.

The appointment comes just as things are starting to look up for the Buddies, who secured their first victory under their new manager last week, beating Hearts 2-0.

Kearney admitted that he had spoken to his compatriot shortly after taking over the reigns in September and the move has now been rubber-stamped. It will not impact Nicholl's role within the Northern Ireland set-up.

The 61-year-old has already served as assistant manager to both both Paul Hartley at Falkirk and Graeme Murty at Rangers during his three-and-a-half years involved with the national team.

"It's my first day today but on the evidence of what I've seen this morning there's a really good spirit about the place," he told the St Mirren website.

"Oran is a young, ambitious, enthusiastic manager and you can see the drive that he has got. That enthusiasm should rub off on all the players and all the staff and that drive and determination.

"I look forward to it. My job will be when there are difficult times. If we are winning everyone is happy, but it's the difficult times you have to keep everyone lifted."

Nicholl has served as Michael O'Neill's number two with Northern Ireland since March 2015.

It's been a tough introduction to full-time football for former Coleraine boss Kearney since he led the Buddies to a 0-0 draw with Celtic in his first game in charge.

A run of seven straight defeats followed before a 1-1 draw at Dundee and last week's long-awaited victory. St Mirren are now three points ahead of basement side Dundee and two behind Hamilton.

Also on his backroom team are Technical Director Gus MacPherson and assistant Brian Rice, who is still in the job he held under Kearney's predecessor Alan Stubbs.

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