ST Mirren loanee Lee Hodson has welcomed the news that veteran coach Jimmy Nicholl is set to join the club and believes his personality alone will help lift morale.

Oran Kearney’s side go into tonight’s meeting with Motherwell having not won since the opening day of the season and desperate to pick up points.

Kearney has been gradually adapting to life in Scotland having succeeded Alan Stubbs as manager last month and will add Nicholl to his backroom staff once he has recovered from a hip operation.

Hodson, who worked with Nicholl at Rangers and with Northern Ireland, thinks his arrival will give the whole place a lift.

The on-loan Ibrox man said: “I know Jimmy very well and he’s a good character to have around the place, especially if morale is a little bit down.

“He tells you his stories that cheer people up but he’s also got amazing experience and knowledge of the game. To have someone like Jimmy come in to add to the staff will help the lads a lot. He’s bubbly and sometimes you need someone like that just to be around the players and keep their morale up when times are hard.

“Jimmy has helped me since day one when he and Michael O’Neill came into the Northern Ireland set-up. As a former full-back he’s given me tips on how to play that role, or ideas on how to do things better. He’s helped me a lot over the years and I’m sure he can help the other guys here too.”

Hodson is now in the final year of his Rangers contract and would be open to making his move to St Mirren a permanent one.

He added: “If the opportunity came for me to stay and there was a contract on the table I wouldn’t say no. Whatever options are there I’ll be open-minded. Apart from the results, I’ve been enjoying it as they are a good bunch of lads in there.”

As much as Hodson is confident things will improve at St Mirren, Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson hopes Kearney's fortunes won't start to take a turn for the better tonight.

The two Northern Irish managers bumped into each other on a recent flight back home and had a chat about their sides’ respective predicaments – both teams go into the crunch match in Paisley with just one league win each to their name so far.

Robinson knows Kearney by reputation following the great job he did at Coleraine and expects the one-time schoolteacher will start to make the same impact at St Mirren.

But the Motherwell boss just hopes it is his side who have the upper hand this evening.

He said: “I think Oran is a good manager. He did extremely well in Northern Ireland with Coleraine and transformed them.

“I’m sure this has been a big eye-opener for him, the realities of Scottish football, the intensity of it and media coverage. It will take a bit of time for him to handle that but he’s got good people around him.

“I’m sure he’ll do well at St Mirren but there won’t be any friendships tonight as we’re both desperate for the points. We’re two teams fighting for everything at the wrong end of the table. I wish Oran well, he’s an intelligent man and someone who can go on to do good things in the game. But we won’t be giving him too much respect tonight.”

Motherwell were one of the form teams last season, reaching two cup finals and finishing seventh in the table. They have struggled to hit those heights again this year but Robinson feels victories against Saints tonight and Dundee on Saturday could help change opinions once again.

He added: “We haven’t started as well as we would have wanted but these two games can take our season from a poor start to a decent start.

“We could potentially go to ninth in the table with two good results, on top of also reaching the quarter-finals of the cup.

“Opinions change very quickly in football and this week is a big one for us to do that with people. A few months ago we were in our second cup final of the season and seventh in the league and the team haven’t become bad footballers overnight. Things haven’t gone quite our way.

“On occasions we’ve played as well as we did last season but haven’t taken chances or have made individual errors and been punished. So you have to remain positive and do the things you believe in.”

Striker Curtis Main knows how big a game this is for Motherwell tonight. He said: "I would think one win will help kickstart the season.

"It's been a strange start to the season. We have dominated games and came off the pitch with nothing.

"The performances have been brilliant but it's about results and getting points on the board. But getting three points against St Mirren could really get us going.”