Teale tasked with taking St Mirren to safe place
GARY TEALE has been charged with hauling St Mirren out of the relegation mire after the caretaker manager was handed the reins for the rest of the season.
Teale, along with his assistant David Longwell, has been acting as interim manager since Tommy Craig was sacked in December and has won two, drawn one and lost six of the nine games he has been in charge.
St Mirren currently languish in the Scottish Premiership’s relegation play-off place but the Paisley club’s top brass remain confident that Teale can turn the fortunes around. “The Board and hopefully the supporters will have noticed an improvement in performances during their short tenure,” said a statement released by the club last night. “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 for the remainder of the season.”
St Mirren, who have signed former Kilmarnock winger James Dayton on loan from Oldham Athletic, will be hoping to dish up a positive result at Firhill tonight when they take on Partick Thistle.
While Teale continues his managerial duties, Marc McAusland is set to hand the captain’s armband back to the returning Steven Thompson after an eye-opening stint as the stand-in-skipper.
They are not quite chiselled into tablets of stone but there are certain dos and don’ts that football players have to live by on a daily basis.
“You get fined for all sorts of things,” explained McAusland, as he painted a not -so pretty picture of general dressing room squalor. “Being late for games or training, not wearing flip flops in the shower, leaving your dirty gear on the floor, not putting your training kit in the bucket for the kitman.
“Before the Christmas night out, people were getting fined for everything, but that was just so we got the kitty up.”
The 26-year-old has clearly enjoyed his period of authority at the club having taken over the duties on a temporary basis while Thompson recovered from injury.
“I even had to fine myself for missing the press last week, I just completely forgot,” he admitted. “I quite enjoy the responsibility. The boys are good and it’s been a case of trying to lift everyone’s spirits. We’ve not been very good but I’ve tried to keep everyone upbeat.”
McAusland and his St Mirren teammates could do with a morale-booster tonight and the fact they are away from their own ground, a place that’s become about as comfortable as a bed of nails having not won there since last May, may just lift the mood.
All four of St Mirren’s league wins this season have been achieved on the road and the 2-1 victory they claimed over Thistle the last time the sides met at Firhill is another source of comfort to cling to.
“Personally, I prefer playing away from home,” said McAusland, in the footballing sense of the phrase. “There’s not as much pressure on you. Maybe it’s a mental thing just because of the way things have been going for us this season. It’s starting to be a bit of a burden playing at home these days.”
Thistle, 10 points better off than tonight’s opponents, romped to a 5-0 win over Hamilton in their last league match at home and boss Alan Archibald has sharpened his Jags with the addition of loan signings, Callum Booth and Ryan Finnie.
Finnie, the former Rangers and Hamilton right-back, joined the Firhill ranks yesterday, 24 hours after Booth arrived from Hibernian.
A win for Thistle tonight would see them move to within five points of the top six and midfielder Gary Fraser prefers to look forward instead of peering over his shoulder.
“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,” he said.
SHOW OF FAITH: Teale has been tasked with hauling St Mirren to survival with the side currently second-bottom