NEW St Mirren boss Ian Murray has revealed Gary Teale was the first man to call and congratulate him on his appointment.
But the former Dumbarton manager says he will have to sit down with the man who has been acting as the Buddies’ interim boss and discuss whether he still has a future with the Paisley club.
Teale has led the club since Tommy Craig’s sacking back in December but failed to prevent Saints sliding out of the Scottish Premiership. However, the former Scotland winger hoped three wins in his last four games would be enough to save his job prospects.
Despite being one of five candidates interviewed by chairman Stewart Gilmour and his board, Teale was overlooked as they decided to hand ex-Hibs and Rangers defender Murray a two-year deal.
But with 12 months still remaining on the player/coach contract Teale signed last summer, St Mirren now face an awkward decision on whether to keep the 36-year-old on the payroll.
Murray – who will let Teale and his assistant David Longwell take the team as the club waves goodbye to the top flight with a trip to Hamilton today – said: “It’s something we need to speak about. Gary called me today to congratulate me – in fact he was the first person to call me. It was great of him. That’s the way it should be dealt with, with maturity. It’s football – he’s not a stupid guy, he understands what happens so for him to call me was nice.
“I need to give the respect to Gary and David, who have done a sterling job over the last few months trying to help St Mirren. Gary has been a good servant to the club and it would be disrespectful not to have a good chat with him and we will probably do that on Sunday or Monday.”
Chairman Gilmour believes Murray, 34, is the man to lead Saints back to the Premiership after he guided part-time Dumbarton to a fifth-place Championship finish last term before finishing seventh this season in a league involving Rangers, Hearts and Hibs.
He said: “Ian has done exceptionally well with Dumbarton. It’s always difficult when you are a part-time club and only have the players a couple of nights a week. We see him as a young, ambitious manager who wants to get himself on to a higher platform. He impressed us with his ideas and plans for where he wants to take the club.
“The situation with Gary is that he still has a year’s contract and we will have to address that next week. Ian will decide who his management team are. It was a very difficult decision not to chose Gary.”
With 16 players out of contract – including skipper Steven Thompson and highly-rated midfielder John McGinn – Murray will have to assess his squad swiftly before making plans for next season.
Meanwhile, Stephen Hendrie cannot wait to fully begin his West Ham career – but the left-back admits his final Hamilton appearance will be an emotional and difficult experience.
The 20-year-old was immediately loaned back to Accies after West Ham bought him in January and he will end his New Douglas Park spell when St Mirren visit today. “It will be an emotional day for me,” Hendrie said. “I have been here since I was 12 and leaving the boys is going to be hard for me. It will be a sad day, I can tell you that.”
But Hendrie is excited about what lies in store following a recent trip to east London. “I was down there last week having a look and getting to know the place,” he said.
“When I came back up, it sunk in that I’m leaving soon. I’m excited and can’t wait to go down and get started.”
Hendrie is following in the footsteps of Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur and Everton’s James McCarthy, who both made a major impact in England after swapping Hamilton for Wigan.
“I spoke to them as soon as I signed,” Hendrie said. “They were buzzing for me and told me everything would be fine, the boys will make me feel welcome, just work hard and try your best.”