It has been awful.
Just about everything relating to St Mirren’s season 2014/2015 has been nothing short of abysmal. From board level decision making, to player performances, even down to the worst playing kits in a generation – we can rejoice that the season has ended and that a new chapter can begin. Relegation had been on the cards since September, and had looked inevitable around the tail-end of March.
Below is the rogue’s gallery of those who have contributed to arguably the worst season the club’s 137 year history. There will be some omissions, however those included will have been deemed to have made a significant (or perhaps just degenerative) contribution to the Paisley side’s downfall.
Mark Ridgers – 5
The 24-year old replaced the established Marian Kello in November to shake things up in the goalkeeping department. Kello’s understudy hardly fared better and faced his own share of scrutiny after some underwhelming performances. Struggles at cross balls but has enriched his performances with some acrobatic stops. He has one year left on his contract and could perhaps do a job in the Championship.
Marian Kello – 3
Kello lost his starting berth in November and failed to reclaim it until the final two games, with Saints’ fate already sealed. He began as a valuable asset when he first joined the club in 2013 before a downturn in form and/or interest saw his Saints career peter out with a great deal of disappointment.
Jason Naismith – 5
Started the season slowly but has ended it strongly, with some fine performances post-split which included a late equaliser against Motherwell – his only other strike of the campaign took the form of a screamer against St Johnstone back in October. He has looked dangerous offensively and had improved the defensive side to his game, and has ultimately benefitted from his second season in the first team whilst his progress was perhaps hampered by the overall performance of those around him. He should excel next season in the Championship.
Marc McAusland – 3
St Mirren supporter and youth academy graduate McAusland began the season with a standout performance at Fir Park on the opening day, but watched his performances decline as the campaign wore on. His boyhood dream sadly petered out as injury curtailed his season before he cancelled his contract by mutual consent in order to pursue a career away from Paisley.
Jim Goodwin – 5
Handed the role of player/coach under Tommy Craig’s stewardship, his coaching duties were stripped after a three match ban for elbowing Dundee United’s Aiden Connolly. The Irishman put on his Sunday best, cast aside his “hardman” reputation (he even started growing his hair) and then went 15 games without receiving a booking. He enjoyed some solid performances before his omission from first team matters after the 3-0 defeat to Ross County in April. Rumours of a dressing room fallout has cast doubt over his future at the club.
Jeroen Tesselaar – 6
One of the better performers this term, Tesselaar provided an experienced head in a team of struggling youngsters. Unable to quite replicate the dazzling form he displayed three seasons ago in the stripes, he did however score his first senior goal against Ross County in October. It was argued that his attacking prowess was wasted in his left back berth, as he wasn’t able to drive as far up the left wing as many would have liked.
Ellis Plummer – 1
Signed on loan from Manchester City, Plummer’s opening day debut pitched him a cut above the rest. He was going to be the find of the season, an up and coming Premier League gem glistening in the humdrum of his new surroundings. He made just seven appearances before a mysterious injury kept him out from September onwards, before his loan spell was cut short in January. Perhaps not a “significant” contributor yet his inclusion may have provided a solid foundation for a centre back pairing, which Saints sorely lacked until the dying embers of the season.
Sean Kelly – 4
A promising first few months of the season (including a goal at Celtic Park) was followed by a rapid decline in form in the second half of his season, resulting in apprehensive performances from the youngster who had alternated between left back and left midfield.
However a renaissance of sorts was witnessed when Kelly was deployed at centre back against Kilmarnock with five matches remaining, a game in which he scored his third of the season and soon racked up a few man of the match performances in the post-split fixtures. Four out of 10 for his overall contribution, however a season-long replication of those performances at centre half would have doubled that figure.
Stephen Mallan – 7
A spark which although failed to ignite St Mirren’s season, provided a faint ray of hope as his colleagues floundered in the dark. Making his debut in November, Mallan rose to worldwide fame after that goal against Dundee at Dens Park, which won the PFA Goal of the Season, no less. He provided the pinnacle moment of a bleak season and followed the sublime with the everyday, displaying a composed, natural flair way beyond his 19 years. He completed a fine few months with a stunning 97th minute strike against Motherwell, capping four goals in his debut season.
Kenny McLean – 8
Oh what might have been. It perhaps speaks volumes that McLean was still considered to have been St Mirren’s best player at the end of season 2014/2015, four months after the midfielder had left for Aberdeen on the final day of the January transfer window. Despite playing half the season he finished as the club’s top scorer with seven goals. McLean’s departure for Pittodrie was construed by many as a white flag from the club in terms of their fate, and the paltry transfer fee (believed to be in the region of £275,000) rubbed salt into an already gaping wound.
Many are still of the belief that the club could have remained in the top flight, or at least possessed a fighting chance, had McLean seen out his contract in Paisley. It is a valid argument such was McLean’s influence in the black and white stripes.
John McGinn – 5
After sweeping the club’s Player of the Year awards last term, McGinn endured a disappointing season by his own sparking standards. Whether his influence was diminished by a deeper lying role or just by the omnishambles taking place around him it’s unclear, however his contract has come to an end and is fully expected to leave the club.
James Dayton – 5
Dayton scored seven minutes into his debut against Partick Thistle in January, having arrived as a loan signing from Oldham. He served a purpose but didn’t replicate the form he showed during his Kilmarnock days. Nimble and tricky, his final ball belied his overall ability. 10/10 for the beard, though.
Gregg Wylde – 3
It’s not been his year. I’m being polite of course, but Wylde’s season started off as it meant to go on with a frustrating performance away to Motherwell on the opening day. Sublime wing play ruined by a shocking final ball perhaps set the tone. From then on he looked bereft of confidence and ultimately failed to make the same impact he made at the tail end of the previous season. He endured a strained relationship with the fans, probably not helped by Wylde’s consistent references to Rangers FC on social media – a bit like when your date spends the entire evening harping on about their ex.
Isaac Osbourne – 4
It’s oft been said about big Ozzy – “If he could just stay injury free he’d be playing at a higher level.” Aberdeen fans said it, Partick Thistle supporters agreed, and the beleaguered Buddies now see their point. Osbourne’s appearances were naturally fleeting and he was limited to 18 games in all competitions, although in each of them his obvious quality shone through as a midfield enforcer who could pick out a pass. He leaves the club a popular figure for his efforts.
Adam Drury – 5
The second loan signing from Manchester City often looked lightweight on the right wing, but made important contributions in his short time at the club. His highlight in the stripes was his late winner in Perth against St Johnstone, and although he lacked the obvious quality that an EPL loanee often brings, he capped a solid few months with three goals.
Thomas Reilly – 4
Reilly is obviously a talented individual, but scarcely is able to convey this talent in the fraught battlefield of an SPFL Premiership match. The club missed a trick by not loaning him out to a lower league side in the last three seasons and his development has been stunted as a result. His move to a more deep lying role in the latter part of the season saw his performances improve, however many are of the belief that his future lies elsewhere.
Callum Ball – 2
His free-scoring pre season exploits against the titans of Blyth Spartans and Whitley Bay earmarked Ball as the next Mark Yardley. Alas, all the two had in common was a sizeable waistline. Ball scored twice in the stripes and his own fitness, or therein lack of, put paid to a successful spell in Paisley. His 2/10 mark represents one point for each goal.
Kieran Sadlier – 5
The youngster reportedly ripped up his youth contract with West Ham in order to play first team football elsewhere. He joined Saints in February but his run in the side was frustratingly limited by a mixture of early substitutions and appearances from the bench. He certainly infused a jolt into the side on his debut at home to Hamilton, but was barely given enough of a chance to prove his worth. Supposedly quite happy at the club and his experiences to date, he is apparently keen to re-sign despite the club’s relegation.
Steven Thompson – 3
His first three seasons for his boyhood heroes were nothing short of magical. His fourth was cursed. Thompson picked up a pre season injury that, combined with rushed substitute appearances against Dundee and Dunfermline Athletic in August, made things a whole lot worse. A debilitating combination of injuries and surgery robbed Thompson of another successful campaign, although he did manage to notch his 50th goal for the club against Kilmarnock in April.
Although he was declared fit to play, he was rumoured to be playing through the pain barrier in order to aid the club’s quest for survival. He ended the season with four goals to his name and is now out of contract. He is open to a coaching role alongside old pal and new boss Ian Murray, and many are hoping he can continue his St Mirren fairytale. While he gets 3/10 for his injury plagued season, he receives 10/10 for being a top lad.
Yoann Arquin – 0
Released by relegation rivals Ross County, he instantly joined his new club in the January window. Funnily enough his debut was against his former employers in Dingwall, where he managed to get sent off. Although the red card was overturned on appeal, he was sent packing again versus Dundee the very next week. He managed to end up with more red cards than goals in his thankfully brief St Mirren career. He was lazy, supine and ultimately didn’t want to be here. He departed the club with many fans queued outside willing to drive him to Glasgow Airport themselves.
Alan Gow – 2
After using the club as a training base and bargaining chip in search of a better deal elsewhere five years ago, Gow’s arrival midway through the season was hardly welcomed with open arms. A promising February debut against Hamilton combined with some tireless performances had begun to win some fans over, before the journeyman resigned himself to his temporary club’s plight. A player who will look back and regret the abundance of talent he sorely wasted.
WRITTEN BY FRASER ANDERSON
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