St Mirren’s recent improvement has given them a “fighting chance” of staying in the Premiership, according to St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright.
But the Perth side will match the Paisley side’s determination to get a win on Saturday when the teams clash at McDiarmid Park.
“It was never going to be easy for Oran (Kearney) but they have managed to stay in touch with Dundee to give themselves a fighting chance,” said Wright.
“They haven’t become detached and the recent win over Livingston was massive for them.
“It has been a tough baptism and Oran has handled it as best he could.
“Obviously he’d have wanted more points but he went in there and decided the players there weren’t good enough.
“They have had a huge turnaround in personnel.
“This is a big game but in our situation we need the points as much as St Mirren.
“We have to get back on track.”
Hiring Jimmy Nicholl as his assistant was a smart move for Kearney, Wright pointed out.
“Oran will have had a lot on his plate combining football management with his teaching job so I’m not sure how closely he would have been following Scottish football,” he said.
“So one of the best things Oran did was to get in Jimmy Nic.
“He had good experience in Brian Rice and Gus McPherson is director of football.
“But when you move to a job in another country you want your own man in.
“In addition to his great knowledge of the game here Jimmy is a bubbly character whose enthusiasm is infectious.
“When you are down there at the bottom of the table Jimmy is someone who can give the players a lift.
“And he has a whole new audience for all his old jokes!”