BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
DUNFERMLINE star Sean Murdoch insists just two months at Hamilton with Jack Ross was enough to be impressed by the new St Mirren boss – and he is not surprised to see flickers of life in Paisley.
Ross joined Accies in the summer of 2010, where Murdoch was already established as part of Billy Reid’s squad, and immediately impressed teammates with his composure and intelligence in the dressing-room.
However, it was less successful on the pitch, with the experienced defender making just three appearances before his contract was cancelled that August.
Ross claimed his first win in charge of the Paisley outfit last weekend, notching a 2-1 win over Ayr United to reach the semi-final of the Irn-Bru Cup – and he could guide his side to within two points of the ninth-placed Pars with a win today.
“Jack was only at Hamilton for a few months, I’m not entirely sure what went on, actually. However, he is a good guy and I know he is extremely highly thought of,” said Murdoch.
“He was always calm and collected in the dressing room. He very rarely got angry or upset and he was a real players’ man.
“Since going in to coaching, I have only ever heard good things about him.
“Jack will be looking to make a quick impression and get points on the board as quickly as possible. They had a good win on Saturday, which will no doubt give them a boost, and it will be a tight game.
“We just need to be ready for that, be focused at the back and we’ve got attacking players good enough to get us something at the other end.”
While St Mirren’s start to the season has been disastrous, sacking former boss Alex Rae after slipping to the foot of the Championship, Dunfermline’s has been underwhelming.
The Pars have won just two league games all season, one of which was a breathless 4-3 win over the Buddies at East End Park, and pre-season predictions of a promotion playoff charge look increasingly optimistic.
“We can do a lot better as a team. We have good players here and can improve. Hopefully everything will click, but it needs to click sooner rather than later,” said Murdoch honestly.
“Everything about the club – the standard of player, the stadium, the fanbase – is massive but some people forget that we only got promoted last season.
“It can take a little time to adjust coming into a new division. Some teams are more used to the division and how other sides play, so maybe that’s been a wee issue.
“You only need to look at St Mirren to see how difficult it can be. It wasn’t long ago that they were in the Premiership and, looking at their squad, they have some really good players in there.
“But now it’s time for us to get points on the board – starting on Saturday.”
And Murdoch, a veteran of campaigns with Hamilton, Hibernian and Forfar, is not shying away from his own role in ensuring Dunfermline do not slip further into a relegation dogfight.
“I’ve been in this situation before and it does need calm heads,” he added. “There is no panic here, but the experienced boys are important in games like this, myself included.
“We need to be loud and clear and help the younger lads through it. A few of them might not have been in this situation – compared to last season when you are winning every week and its all sweet and dandy – and that is a part of football.
“But a win on Saturday could be exactly what we need to start our season and go on a run.”