LAST month, I wrote a blog about the fall of St Mirren since the high of their League Cup success to a potential battle against relegation to Scotland’s Third Tier unless results dramatically picked up.
Three days later, they sacked Alex Rae!
The former Rangers midfielder was dismissed after just 9 months into the job following a poor start to the season that yielded just three days and no victories as they slumped to the bottom of the Championship table.
St Mirren, now under fan ownership, took their time over the new appointment before unveiling ex-Buddie Jack Ross as the clubs fifth gaffer since dismissing Danny Lennon little over two years ago.
Ross was attracted to the clubs owners on part-time Alloa’s impressive start to the League One season and run to the League Cup Quarter Finals, where they ran Scottish Champions Celtic really close at Parkhead before two late wonder strikes ended their hopes of a potential upset.
He leaves the Wasps sitting Third in the table and into the Quarter Finals of the Challenge Cup, therefore his stalk is rising as an upcoming young manager.
The big question remains – is Jack Ross the right man for St Mirren? As far as the Buddies are concerned, it needs to be!
It is a high risk move by the club plumping for a manager of so little experience, even if Ross has potential to be a successful manager. You’ve also got to remember that the club have been down a similar road when they hired Ian Murray, who’d done a remarkable job in establishing part-time Dumbarton as a Championship club, and that lasted just six months before he was honest enough to admit he wasn’t up to the job.
In comparison, Ross is a higher risk and, whilst Alloa have started well this season, he has only been a manager for just over nine months and did oversee a relegation into League One, although he did inherit a team miles adrift when he took the job.
For Ross himself, moving from a part-time team with no huge expectations and little resources to a team who have struggled to adapt to life outside the top flight, it is a massive step for him to take so early in his career.
Of course, his reasons for taking the job are understandable. Moving to a full time club with a bigger budget, better training facilities and he might not get the chance to take on this job again.
However, a part of him must be wondering if he is moving from Alloa too soon. Whilst he’s got Alloa off to a good start, and beating two Premiership sides en route to that League Cup Quarter Final with Celtic, Ross hasn’t really achieved anything yet in his short time as a manager and maybe would’ve been better off serving his apprenticeship with the club before going to a bigger challenge, like Paul Hartley did in his time as Wasps manager.
It seems as though the big pull for both parties is the previous connection when Ross played for the club from 2008 to 2010. The perception of employing someone who “knows the club” doesn’t always result in success, case examples being Alan Johnston at Kilmarnock, Mixu Paatelainen at Dundee United and Mark McGhee at Aberdeen.
For St Mirren, they’ll be hoping that the return of Jack Ross to the club will lead the club away from the relegation zone.
Saturday’s surprise win over Hibs in the Challenge Cup, under the guidance of Caretaker Alan McManus, should act as a springboard for the season and the players should be full of confidence for Ross’s arrival.
Winning as underdogs at Easter Road is one thing, winning games they are expected to win against the likes of Dumbarton, Dunfermline, Ayr etc is a different matter and that’s where the Buddies players need to step up if they are to end this flirtation with a first ever drop into Scottish Footballs Third Tier.
For St Mirren, they need this gamble to payoff otherwise the managers office at St Mirren Park (I cant bring myself to call it the City of Culture 2021 Stadium) will be revolving very soon!