St Mirren fans see new signings in action as Robinson opens up on shock transfer exit

-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)


St Mirren fans had the opportunity to see Stephen Robinson’s new men in action on Saturday as the Buddies travelled to East End Park.

New players including goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe and Northern Irish midfielder Oisin Smyth took to the pitch in what was the club’s first pre-season run-out.

Other summer signings, including Shaun Rooney and Roland Idowu, also came off the bench as the Paisley outfit beat Championship side Dunfermline Athletic 1-0.

The game, according to Robinson, showed the squad is about 70 per cent ready for the start of the William Hill Premiership and UEFA Conference League campaign.

The only goal of the game came shortly before the half-hour mark when Smyth won possession deep in the Pars half and squared the ball to Toyosi Olusanya to tap it home.

Robinson said that the game was vital for getting minutes in the legs and the club had chosen four hard games to prepare for the season.

“Ultimately, that’s what these games are about,” he told the Paisley Daily Express Sport . “Dunfermline are ahead of us in terms of their preparation, they’re ready for their first game of the season next week.

“We’re at about 70 per cent and I think that showed early on in terms of decisions and fitness.

“You could see us growing stronger as the game went on and I thought all the new players settled in really well. Ultimately, we could have scored a lot more goals and that’s something we’re continuing to work on.

“It’s steps in the right direction.”

Missing from the squad, however, was James Bolton who has left the Buddies for Sky Bet League Two side Fleetwood Town. The former St Mirren defender had signed an extension to his contract in February.

However, he recently made it clear to the Buddies manager that he wanted a move back down south, citing family reasons

It was confirmed on Thursday that a deal had been struck for an undisclosed amount with The Fishermen.

Speaking to the Paisley Daily Express at the weekend, Robinson said he understood the 29-year-old’s decision.

He said: “It was disappointing to lose him because I thought we had our squad set. James made it very clear he didn’t want to be at the football club for family reasons.

“I only want people here that want to be at the club and want to push for the football club.

“If everyone’s not going in the same direction, it just doesn’t work.

“But I understand it. I’ve been a footballer.

“James is a good boy, a good kid and he gets to be closer to his family so we wish him nothing but the best.”

There could be a replacement as Robinson added: “Ultimately, we’ve let James go with one eye on something else so hopefully we’ll have that done by the early part of next week.

“We’re speaking to quite a few players at the moment.

“We’re hoping to have a deal in place on Monday or Tuesday.”

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