Football/Soccer

Oran Kearney's future in doubt as he misses first day of pre-season with St Mirren

Despite saving the Saints from relegation, Oran Kearney's future at the club is far from safe

The St Mirren squad remain in the dark over Oran Kearney's future after returning for the first day of pre-season training without their boss.

There was no sign of the manager at the club's Ralston training base as the Buddies reported back after their summer break.

Reports over the weekend claimed the Northern Irishman had been told to stay away from the club following a row with Saints chairman Gordon Scott over his plans to continue commuting across the Irish Sea from his family home in Ballymoney.

The Saints faithful are now waiting on a statement clarifying the 40-year-old former Coleraine boss' situation but he is not expected to be in charge for much longer.

While Kearney was absent, it was left to sports scientist Junior Mendes to take training as the first-team squad were put through a series of fitness tests.

Youth chief Allan McManus and goalkeeping coach Jamie Langfield were also on hand after arriving shortly after 8am to meet with technical director Gus MacPherson.

But with Scott in America on business and chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick also overseas on holiday, there was no explanation given to the players for the manager's absence.

As he left the training ground, midfielder Gary MacKenzie said: "There's nothing to say at all. We don't know anything. I don't think there's much to say. I don't think anybody knows."

Kearney, 40, signed a three-year deal when he replaced Alan Stubbs in September.

He successfully saved the club from relegation as he guided Saints to a play-off victory against Dundee United last month.

But his insistence on travelling to and from Northern Ireland each week has frustrated Scott.

Saints are due to face Kearney's old side Coleraine on Saturday in a pre-season friendly, with the Bannsiders currently without a new manager more than six weeks after the sacking of his successor Rod McAree.

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