Stephen Robinson: Ex-Motherwell boss leaves Morecambe to become new St Mirren manager

Stephen Robinson
New St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson will take charge of his first game at Dundee on Wednesday

Stephen Robinson says St Mirren’s pursuit of him made it “very difficult to turn down” the role of manager.

Robinson, 47, has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal in Paisley after a compensation package was agreed with English League One side Morecambe.

The former Motherwell boss, who left Fir Park just over a year ago, replaces Jim Goodwin, who has joined Aberdeen.

“It just came about very suddenly – it wasn’t something I went searching for,” Robinson told BBC Scotland.

“I certainly didn’t apply but I got an approach from St Mirren mid-afternoon [on Monday]. When someone makes that big a play for you, which St Mirren did and made it very clear they wanted me, I thought it was right to speak to them.

“It was something I found very, very difficult to turn down. It’s a club I’ve admired from afar. I’ve always thought about the atmosphere in the stadium and the training ground.”

The Northern Irishman, who will be joined by assistant Diarmuid O’Carroll, believes St Mirren have appointed a “more mature” and “more rounded manager”.

The Paisley side are seventh in the Scottish Premiership and could go fourth if they win their game in hand against Dundee on Wednesday (19:45 GMT).

“Being down at Morecambe gives me the opportunity to know the English market a lot better,” he explained.

“We’ve got to aim for top six. You’ve got to aim high and if you land just below that then you’ve still aimed to be right at the very top.

“The league’s strong, the league’s stronger since I left as well. There’s a lot of teams competing and a lot of money been spent.

“There’s a lot of good things in place already. I have credit to Jim for what he’s put together. I’m lucky enough I know a lot of the players – some ex-Motherwell boys, some Northern Ireland internationals. I think we’ve got a talented squad.”

Fellow Premiership club Hearts had given youth coach Steven Naismith permission to speak to the Paisley side, while Aberdeen captain Scott Brown also featured on St Mirren’s shortlist.

Robinson leaves Morecambe, who are making their debut in England’s third tier, in the relegation places having gone five games without a victory. His first appointment in Scotland came as assistant to Ian Baraclough with Motherwell and he also assisted national team boss Michael O’Neill.

He became Oldham Athletic manager in 2016, leaving after just seven months before returning to Fir Park as manager and leading his side to the League Cup and Scottish Cup finals in the same season, losing to Celtic each time.

Robinson also worked with new Dundee manager Mark McGhee at Motherwell and the former said before Wednesday’s meeting at Dens Park: “I owe Mark a lot so really looking forward to that test.”

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