STEPHEN Craigan believes his countryman Oran Kearney is capable of turning around St Mirren’s fortunes and becoming the latest manager from Northern Ireland to flourish in Scotland - thanks to his man management skills.

Craigan, the BT Sport analyst and Motherwell coach, knows his compatriot Kearney well and has followed his career with interest since he took over at struggling Coleraine.

He believes the 40-year-old, who will take charge of his first game this evening when double treble winners Celtic travel to Paisley, is the perfect man to lift spirits at the Simple Digital Arena.

“He’s enjoyed success at Coleraine,” he said. “Everyone you speak to around the club talk about the warmth of his character.

“I’ve always got on with him in my roles with the Northern Irish youth set-up. Everyone talks about his man management. There’s no doubt it’s a bit of a risk for both.

“Maybe it’s because of his teacher background, but he’s good with people. It will be hard dealing with players who want to be in the team. It will be interesting to see how he translates from part-time to full time in a league he doesn’t know. But it helps to have that freshness.”

Craigan believes it will take time for Kearney, who won the Irish Cup with Coleraine last season, to bring success back to Ladbrokes Championship champions St Mirren.

"I know Oran spoke about winning the league, but there was context there and I think he explained it well," he said.

“He is an ambitious manager and he wants to set his standards high. It takes times but having listened to him he’s excited. We’ll see how long it lasts when Celtic have the ball for 20 minutes!

“When you come across the water into your first full time job you want to be involved in the big games in front of a full house."

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