GARY TEALE has signed ex-Kilmarnock winger James Dayton in his first act since being handed the St Mirren manager’s job until the end of the season.
Former Scotland international Teale has been in caretaker charge since Tommy Craig left on 9 December and his team have taken seven points from nine games and remain in the relegation play-off place.
A club statement read: “We are delighted to confirm that Gary Teale assisted by David Longwell will remain in charge of St Mirren Football Club until the end of the season. The board and hopefully the supporters will have noticed an improvement in performances during their short tenure.
“Gary and David are working extremely hard to bring in additional players to add to the squad before Monday’s deadline and, hopefully, the hard work going on behind the scenes will transfer into more positive results on the pitch.”
The confirmation comes amid continuing uncertainty over the future ownership of the club – up for sale since 2009.
An English consortium had been in advanced talks and planned to appoint former Liverpool player David Thompson as manager but the club board pulled out of the deal and held talks with an Argentine consortium, who moved into a strong position to take over.
The progress of that deal remains unclear but reports in Catalonia say that one of the group, lawyer Ricardo Pini, is on the verge of pulling out of a deal to buy troubled Segunda Liga club Girona.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS
Teale has been allowed to bring in his second – and probably final – signing of the transfer window by capturing 26-year-old Dayton on loan from Oldham until the end of the season. Dayton, who scored seven goals in a three-year spell at Rugby Park, said: “I am very happy to come back up to Scotland and start playing games regularly again. Gary and I spoke quite a bit and he told me how much he wanted me to come here, and I am just delighted to get it done knowing the league as I do and hopefully make an impact.”
St Mirren continue their fight against relegation against Partick Thistle tonight and defender Marc McAusland strongly shares the board’s opinion that Teale and Longwell are instigating improvement. Saints have still not won a league game at home or kept a clean sheet this season, but they have won two of their last three away games and can leapfrog Motherwell into tenth place if they win at Firhill.
McAusland said: “We have been playing quite well in the last three or four games and have picked up some points, but not quite as many as we should have. The boys are working hard under Tealy and Davie and are enjoying it. It’s a wee bit different and we are working on a few more things. The boys are definitely reacting to what they are saying and, hopefully, we can pick up more points.
“We are breaking a lot quicker on teams and getting the ball up the park more quickly and moving it about a lot quicker. We are working on different things in training and I think the boys are enjoying it a lot more. The boys are taking confidence from the way we are playing.”
Thistle yesterday signed their second player in 24 hours in former Hamilton and Rangers right-back Ryan Finnie. The 19-year-old Scotland youth international made five appearances for Accies before joining Rangers in March last year.
He joins Thistle until the end of the season and arrives after Thistle signed Hibernian left-back Callum Booth on loan.
Defender Ben Richards-Everton returns from a loan spell at Airdrie, with Liam Lindsay moving in the other direction until the end of the season.
A win tonight would see Alan Archibald’s side move five points off the top six and 13 points clear of the relegation play-off place.
Midfielder Gary Fraser feels such a cushion could help the Jags produce their attractive brand of football for the rest of the campaign.
Fraser said: “Obviously it’s a big game for us because if we win we can go a fair bit ahead. We do struggle for a bit of consistency but we know we are good enough to be in the Scottish Premiership and the way we play football is a lot better than most teams.
“Hopefully, if we keep doing the right things then the consistency will come. The relegation fears are never away but, if we can forget about the relegation zone and concentrate on trying to get in the top six, then that will work for us instead.
“I think we are good enough to stay well clear of it. The aim for all the boys is to push for the top six. It would be fantastic if we got there.”