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Starting St Mirren career against Celtic is a poetic dream, says Kearney


New St Mirren boss Oran Kearney
New St Mirren boss Oran Kearney
Showdown: Brendan Rodgers is relishing clash

By Graham Luney

Oran Kearney will get the chance tonight to personally thank Brendan Rodgers for advice that helped him land a dream job with St Mirren.

The new Buddies boss faces Celtic in his first match in charge tonight at his new home and while it's a daunting task, the former Linfield favourite is relishing the huge challenge.

It's a dream start for Kearney in Scotland after he departed the Bannsiders on a wave of emotion.

In fact, the 40-year-old refers to it as a "poetic start" and it will be one of the proudest moments of his career when he takes his place on the sideline, pitting his wits against his compatriot, Carnlough's favourite son Rodgers.

Celtic will show no mercy of course and Kearney isn't expecting any favours from his fellow Ulsterman, unlike in the summer when the former Liverpool manager was ready to offer his support.

"I have had great chats with Brendan already and before the first interview he was brilliant," said Kearney.

"I had a great conversation with him on the phone and he was ultra supportive and I'd hope that continues. This first match is nearly poetic for me."

Kearney replaced Alan Stubbs who was sacked last week and he couldn't have asked for a tougher start.

St Mirren have only earned one point in the previous 15 meetings between the two - a 1-1 draw in March 2013, and have lost all six games since.

The Buddies have only won one of four matches in the Scottish Premiership this season while Celtic can move level with Hearts on 12 points at the top of the table with victory.

Celtic won their last match 1-0 against Old Firm rivals Rangers and Rodgers is looking forward to building on that result.

"I normally use a few days of the international break to reflect on the previous round of games," he said.

"It's been nearly three months so it's been such a busy period. I like to have thinking time to go away and take stock of everything that's gone on.

"We expect a tough game and we will prepare for that so I'm looking forward to going to the stadium and playing the game."

Former West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand could make his debut for St Mirren.

The 33-year-old has been training with the club this week and might feature if he is signed in time.

Meanwhile, Celtic keeper Craig Gordon called for clarity in the Scottish Football Association's "clouded" disciplinary procedure which he suggests leaves them open to questions around club allegiances.

A rule book change during the summer has resulted in several controversial decisions this season, the most recent being when a panel of three former referees decided that there was no case for Rangers keeper Allan McGregor to answer after his kick out at Hoops defender Kristoffer Ajer during the Old Firm game at Parkhead.

Gordon said: "It seems quite a clouded subject in how they get to the decisions.

"As far as I am aware it goes to the three (former) referees, that there is no comeback, you don't know who they are. It is a strange system.

"You never know who the referees are, who their allegiances (to) might be.

"I just think that is probably not the best way to go about it.

"I am not saying I have the answers but certainly if there are incidents that the referee misses, there has to be that system in place that there is retrospective action and they should be getting that right."

Asked if the lack of retrospective punishment for McGregor could lead people to think perhaps some of those on the former referees panel might have a view for a certain reason, Gordon said: "We don't know who the panel is, so it is hard to know either way.

"I just think it makes it look like there is that possibility and it shouldn't be that."

St Mirren vs Celtic

Scottish Premiership:

St Mirren Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

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