A SUMMER of change in Paisley brings an air of intrigue to the season ahead for St Mirren.

Sure, Stephen Robinson was appointed in February after Jim Goodwin’s departure for Aberdeen but with a transfer window under his belt the man in the dugout will be truly judged this term.

Similarly, it’s a first season to impress for Keith Lasley who joined as Chief Operating Officer and by all accounts has made a sterling start to his time in the demanding role.

While the change of personnel behind the scenes will pique the interest of fans and influence the direction of the club moving forward, it’ll be the on-field alterations that’ll take centre stage in the season curtain-raiser against Motherwell on Sunday.

Robinson made his feelings clear on his demand for new arrivals to help fit his preferred high-energy style of play – and to the credit of the club, the manager has been backed over the summer.

The Buddies boss added no less than seven new faces to his squad – however he did lose a handful of key players too.

Robinson utilised his contacts and former players he’s worked with in previous roles to bolster his side with Declan Gallagher arriving from Aberdeen, Mark O’Hara signing from Motherwell and Trevor Carson brought in from Dundee United. The St Mirren manager then completed a new look spine to his team with the addition of Jonah Ayunga from ex-club Morecambe who he left to take up the Paisley position last season.

Robinson also moved to sign Toyosi Olusanya from Middlesbrough before making use of the Australian market to sign highly-rated Keanu Baccus from Western Sydney Wanderers and Ryan Strain, most recently at Maccabi Haifa in Israel.

In black and white it appears Robinson has signed well over the summer and filled some holes left by departing players, however there remains a question over how Conor Ronan’s influential role at the club during his loan spell from Wolves will be covered. The Republic of Ireland midfielder was one of a number of headline departures from the club come the end of last season.

Jak Alnwick left for Cardiff City after an impressive two years as No1 with St Mirren as first-team regulars from last season Alan Power and Conor McCarthy also moved on at the end of their contracts. Right-back Matt Millar headed back to Australia with Kyle McAllister headed down south to Forrest Green Rovers in a bid to revive his career after a difficult season. Alex Gogic also left the club after his loan from Hibs with the club priced out of a free transfer move for the committed midfielder.

For Robinson it was a needed realigning of his squad with his demanding style of play set to be implemented fully in the new season. He’s a manager with a proven track record in Scotland and Buddies fans will be hoping for his experience to bear fruit this term after a less than convincing start to his reign coming in mid-season.

An early exit from the Premier Sports Cup hasn’t kick-started the season in the right manner, but it'd be silly to count the Paisley side out of a decent season – even if a top-six finish may seem a smidge of a long-shot especially with almost every team improving their squads over the summer window.

That’s not to say it’s inconceivable for Robinson and Co to defy the odds but with a change in the backroom, offices and on the pitch at St Mirren it could turn into a transitional period for the club.

One thing that has been guaranteed however, is that the prestigious St Mirren academy – which churned out the likes of John McGinn, Kenny McLean, Lewis Morgan and Stephen Mallan – will continue to play a major role. Robinson has already displayed his willingless to give the youth prospects a chance with Kieran Offord a potential breakthrough star for the season and Dylan Reid – who turned down a £125,000 move to Celtic B – involved in first-team squads.

Ethan Erhahon who recently marked his 100th appearance for the Buddies is another academy graduate who has anchored the midfield in pre-season and is set to be handed serious responsibility this term – as too will Jay Henderson who is a fully fledged first-team player at just 20.

This season should provide stability for St Mirren with Robinson set for his first full term at the helm and should he find a rhythm in results, any lowly outside expectations could be far exceeded.

Volatile runs of form from 11 matches winless (under Goodwin) and one win in nine (under Robinson) seriously hampered top six hopes; should the much improved four-game unbeten run at the end of the season be carried into the opening weekend a ninth placed finish could well be topped.