ST MIRREN chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick was beaming with joy when manager Jack Ross told him he wanted to remain in Paisley after holding talks with English Championship club Barnsley this week.

Saints gave the 41-year-old permission late on Tuesday night to go and speak to the Tykes on Wednesday about their vacant managerial position after previous boss Paul Heckingbottom moved to Leeds.

But late on Thursday night Ross informed Fitzpatrick that he was keen to remain with St Mirren to finish the job and help guide the table-topping Buddies back into the Scottish Premiership.

The Saints chief was unable to hide his delight at Ross’ choice, despite the lure of more money and plying his trade in a bigger league.

He said: “I’m delighted because there was no doubt in my mind he was going to get offered it, and it just shows you money is not the main thing for him in his life.

“He loves his job here and he’s said from the beginning that he wants to take the club back to the Premiership, and if it’s not this year it’s next year.

“Jack is a big part of the whole club’s plans so it’s fantastic he’s done that.

“He’s showed unbelievable loyalty to our football club and it shows you the type of guy he is.

“He’s built a really good team here and he’s part of our whole football club and we’re all celebrating, you can imagine the happiness that was going through everybody.”

This isn’t the first time a club has come in for the highly-rated Buddies boss.

In August Dundee tried to bring in Ross, but they eventually opted for Neil McCann, with the Saints manager and assistant James Fowler both signed contract extensions until June 2020 shortly afterwards.

But Fitzpatrick says there’s unlikely to be new deals on the table for them this time round, and revealed if the Buddies were to get promoted, talks would then begin regarding a new contract.

He added: “That is in their contracts anyway if we go to the Premiership, some players will get renegotiated as well.

“If we were to do that for Jack every time a club came in, it would be a rolling everyday contract.

“That’s when we’ll look at it and we’ve got no real plans for that [to look at it any sooner].”

The Championship leaders’ position is a far cry from where they were last year, requiring an equaliser against Hibs on the final day to secure their survival in the league.

The Saints chief claimed there’s no other manager that could have done what Ross has done with the Buddies in that time, and admits he will likely leave them in the future for a bigger club.

He said: “I don’t think anybody could have surpassed what he’s done since last season for us.

“He’s taken us from the brink of oblivion to having a great chance to get into the Premiership.

“That’s miracle stuff, and I use that word because I was sitting here a year ago when it was the last game of the season and we had half an hour to go and we were in that other division.

“I’m sure we’ll lose him in time, if he keeps having the success he’s having there’s going to be a day or a time when he’s going to say that he wants to move on to further his own career.

“You’re going to have hurdles, but here’s Jack saying to us now that he wants to stay. It’s magnificent.”