St Mirren: Tommy Craig exits as manager after 19 games

Tommy Craig
Tommy Craig leaves with his side sitting second bottom of the Scottish Premiership

Tommy Craig has been sacked as St Mirren manager despite his chairman still considering the 64-year-old "one of the best coaches I've ever seen".

Player-coach Gary Teale will take charge of the team on an interim basis with the Buddies sitting second bottom of the Scottish Premiership.

Chairman Stewart Gilmour told BBC Scotland: "We're in a results business and we're not producing results, it's as simple as that.

"We felt we needed to have a change."

Craig, who previously managed Scotland Under-21s and Belgian club Charleroi, had taken charge in the summer after the departure of Danny Lennon.

The former Aberdeen, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Swansea City, Carlisle United and Hibernian midfielder had been Lennon's assistant.

St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour
"We had great confidence in Tommy. He is one of the best coaches I've ever seen working at St Mirren."

But the Glaswegian's time in charge lasted only 19 games and ended with his team without a win in eight outings - and with only goal difference keeping them ahead of bottom side Ross County.

St Mirren's official website statement said the parting had been "by mutual consent", but the club had come under pressure from disgruntled fans to dismiss Craig.

"I'm sure Tommy thinks maybe another couple of weeks and he might have been able to turn it around," said Gilmour.

"I understand that thought, but we came to the decision as a group after lots of discussion.

"We had great confidence in Tommy. He is one of the best coaches I've ever seen working at St Mirren.

"He was given the opportunity to try to do it and, regrettably, and I mean that because he's been a pleasure to work with, it's not worked out."

St Mirren had decided not to renew Lennon's contract after four years in charge during which he and Craig lifted the Scottish League Cup in 2013.

However, Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by St Johnstone was the Buddies' sixth loss under Lennon's former assistant during that eight-game winless spell.

On top of their lowly league position, the Paisley side are also out of the League Cup and Scottish Cup, losing their fourth-round replay away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4-0 on 2 December.

In all, under Craig, St Mirren have won three games, drawn three and lost 13, leaving his chairman to admit he did not know why it had not worked out better under the veteran coach.

St Mirren player-coach Gary Teale
Gary Teale has been put in interim charge of St Mirren until a successor is appointed

"He was part of a very good team and he will always be remembered, him and Danny, for our day in 2013," said Gilmour.

"We saw all the other applications - people think we didn't look at them, but of course we did, but we thought Tommy could take the club forward.

"He is particularly good at coaching kids."

Teale took training along with fellow player-coach Jim Goodwin on Tuesday morning before it was announced that the former Derby County and Scotland winger would be assisted by head of youth development David Longwell until a successor is appointed.

"It'll be handed internally until we see what applicants are in and we'll make a decision which we hope will be good for the club," added Gilmour.

"The main thing at the moment is to get the manager in place. Finance is very difficult at the moment.

"That will no doubt be one of the criteria we'll be looking at - what contacts they've got and maybe what wheeling and dealing they can do - but that's a job for later in the week."