STABILITY isn’t the first word that comes to mind when describing life at St Mirren over the last few years.

Probably not since Jack Ross guided them back to the Premiership in 2018 after he saved them from being relegated to League One the previous season.

And, before that, you would probably have to look further back to Danny Lennon’s League Cup-winning tenure between 2010 and 2014.

But current gaffer Jim Goodwin, in an exclusive interview with Gazette Sport about his first six months as a Premiership boss, has revealed his long-term plans are to give that much-needed stability to Saints – and fire the club into the top six.

He said: “I couldn’t be happier, to be honest. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I want to stay here for as long as I can and be as successful as I can possibly be.

“At the moment, we are two or three victories away from starting to look seriously at that top half of the table. I think that’s always got to be the focus of this club – how do we take ourselves into that top half and drag ourselves away from the bottom of the table where, for me, we shouldn’t be.

“We spent far too much time there when I was a player. I certainly don’t want that to be the case as a manager.

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“I want to make progress on last year and finish a couple of places higher and then try to break into the top six and for everyone to remain positive.

When there’s a positivity around the town and the stadium, it has great benefits on the park because that gives the players confidence.”

Goodwin said time has “flown by” during his first six months in the Saints hotseat.

He added: “Being a part-time manager is, I think, sometimes a bit harder in terms of you only have the players for a couple of nights a week and you’ve got to try and cram in a lot of detail in that four hours of training and you’ve got your day job too, where you have to earn a living.

“This has been brilliant for me. I have absolutely loved every minute of it. I love being at the training ground every day. I’ve got all the time in the world to prepare for games and prepare for training and do my recruitment.”

The former Alloa manager was appointed in late June as Oran Kearney returned to Ireland shortly after retaining the club’s top flight status.

Goodwin believes St Mirren’s slow start in the League Cup group stages was down to his late arrival and the fact his new signings had little time to settle in.

However, he insists his faith in his new recruits has never wavered.

“I feel that, in the last couple of months, it’s all starting to come together,” said Goodwin. “The players are now at a level of fitness where they should have been after pre-season but unfortunately, because they came in as late as they did, they were still trying to play catch up well into September.

“There’s still room for improvement, there’s no doubt about that, we’re not the finished article by any stretch of the imagination.

“I’m not looking for excuses. I knew the situation before I came in. When you look at the squad available to us during the Betfred and compare that to the squad we have now, it’s night and day really.

“I always believed the players we brought in were good players and it can take a bit of time for people to get to know each other, get used to a different atmosphere, a different environment, a different manager’s ideas.

These things don’t always happen overnight and I think we’ve seen that from our own point of view. I always knew they were good and I think they will get better.”

Goodwin, 38, knows his primary responsibility is to deliver positive results on the pitch.

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And after enjoying the best moment of his playing career when captaining the Buddies to their first piece of silverware in 26 years with the 2013 League Cup, he is relishing the challenge of bringing similar success as manager.

He said: “For me, it’s just about making this club better, it’s about trying to influence every area of the club, trying to make the academy better, make the first team better, make the environment they come to work in better and make it an enjoyable place for people to come in and work. I think if we can do that and continue to take steps in the right direction, then it’s better for everyone.

“At the moment, I would say we’re doing okay, I wouldn’t say we’re doing brilliantly, but I don’t think we are doing terribly either. I certainly think there is great room for improvement. I can see that progression coming.

“I can see players getting better every week and I hope that we have a great start to the new year. Hopefully we can get 2020 off to a flyer.”

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