ORAN KEARNEY has missed out on the chance to be the latest link in a remarkable chain. And it’s one that doesn’t show St Mirren in a particularly flattering light.

Kearney would have been their seventh different manager in succession to preside over pre-season training. Danny Lennon was in charge for the fourth and final time when the players returned from their close-season break in 2013. Then, one year after the next, came Tommy Craig, Ian Murray, Alex Rae, Jack Ross, and Alan Stubbs. Every summer a different face in charge.

Kearney was next in line but, like Gary Teale a few years before him, didn’t even make it that far. Instead it is Jim Goodwin who will now take over as St Mirren’s eighth manager since Lennon’s contract was allowed to expire in 2014. It hardly screams stability.

In mitigation, the chopping and changing has come under the watch of two separate regimes. The former board, led by chairman Stewart Gilmour, ran out of steam and inspiration in the latter years of their tenure as they looked to find a buyer for their shares.

Craig was always out of his depth, while former player Teale was thrown in to hold the fort and couldn’t stop the team from being relegated. Murray, on paper, looked an inspired appointment but couldn’t win promotion, the same for Rae who started well but couldn’t sustain it.

The summer of 2016 saw a change at the top with Gordon Scott, backed by the supporters' trust, taking over the club. Rae left shortly after to be replaced by Ross. The new board’s first appointment would prove to be a huge success as he staved off relegation to League One and then won promotion the following season.

In then moving to Sunderland, Ross became the first St Mirren in decades to leave under his own volition. The new board then took their first major mis-step with the disastrous appointment of Stubbs but then quickly corrected their mistake by giving the job to Kearney.

The Northern Irishman has now moved on in contentious circumstances regarding his domestic and travel arrangements – among other issues and frustrations – but will at least be forever remembered for saving the club from an immediate return to the Championship.

Goodwin now takes up the reins, his first target to ensure that he can break this constant cycle of change by still being in charge this time next year.

It barely needs saying that St Mirren desperately need stability. Kearney did well to patch up Stubbs’ badly mismatched squad with loan deals and short-term signings and it got the job done.

But it has left Goodwin with a group of only 13 or 14 first-team players and his first competitive match only a fortnight away. St Mirren do not have the biggest budget and have been burned before by handing out two- or three-year deals to players who then had to be moved on within a year.

If they are to become an established Premiership club as they desire, however, it can’t be achieved via a major rebuild of the squad in every transfer window. Only through signing players on longer deals, while continuing to bring through prospects from their much-vaunted youth academy, can that much-craved permanency be reached. St Mirren could do without any more turbulence for a while.

The uncertainty over Kearney’s future at the end of a season already extended by their involvement in the play-offs has left St Mirren behind in their preparations for the new season. While potential relegation rivals Ross County and Hamilton Accies have been gradually adding to their squads, the Paisley side will need to do their shopping in a bit more of a hurry.

The deployment of a more statistics-based approach to player recruitment and hiring Gus MacPherson as technical director to oversee it all should make it slightly less frantic, even if time is not on their side. Even then, it may not be possible to shape the squad entirely to the manager’s liking in one window.

Given what has transpired before him, many might consider Goodwin crazy to take up a role at a club that has known little but turmoil of late. The Irishman’s reputation as a young, promising manager has spiralled in recent years and reached a high when he kept part-time Alloa Athletic in the Championship last season.

That seemed to have earned him a shot at full-time management with Dundee, only for James McPake to get the nod at the last minute instead. Still, had he waited there would have been more opportunities around the corner for Goodwin.

The 37 year-old, though, has both history and the requisite mentality on his side at St Mirren. The first captain to lift a major trophy at the club for 26 years back in 2013, he does not need to win the fans over. Hated by the opposition, Goodwin was loved during a five-year stay in Paisley. That will earn him time.

He was also a ferocious competitor as a player – too ferocious at times – and that fiery determination ought to serve him well in the boardroom, too. Neither Kearney nor Rae have a good word to say about Scott but Goodwin’s headstrong attitude and charm ought to serve him well as issues arise. Goodness knows St Mirren really need him to succeed.