Oran Kearney says he is ‘proud as punch’ with what he has achieved during his tenure at Coleraine.
The Ballymoney man brought the curtain done on his managerial career at The Showgrounds after seven-and-a-half years to take up the reigns at Scottish Premiership side St Mirren.
Speaking as he made an emotional exit from the Bannsiders on Saturday night Kearney admitted it was a tough decision but one he felt he could not turn down.
He feels though he is leaving Coleraine in a very healthy position.
“The one thing you want to do in life and your job is to leave the place in a better place than you found it,” said Kearney.
“When I arrived here the budget had been cut again and I look at what I’ve left I’m as proud as punch.
“It’s a hell of a squad, it’s a hell of a team and it’s a hell of a club.
“There’s not one player in there that isn’t mine.
“I do take great credit for it and I’m delighted to take great credit for it because I’m immensely proud of it.
“It speaks volumes for me and Coleraine, and I suppose that’s why I’m in the scenario I’m in now.”
Kearney certainly leaves the Bannsiders on a high as he led them to a 3-0 win at champions Crusaders last Monday night.
After the game news broke about St Mirren sacking Alan Stubbs and things spiralled from then as Kearney explained.
“It’s been an absolute tornado, just surreal,” he said.
“Coming home on the bus on Monday night after the Crusaders game I was on top of the world with the result and going top of the league.
“I was probably feeling like us all that we hadn’t hit the heights of last season just yet by our own standards, but we were up and running now and we could go and have another real big crack at it.
“The thought of standing here now conducting this interview feels like an outer-body experience.
“It has been a crazy and emotional week on all fronts, in family, school and football, but a brilliant week.
“When you go over there today and look at the training ground and the stadium it’s brilliant, and really exciting.
“It all comes simply down to that I don’t think I could live with myself for the next 10 or 15 years with a huge ‘what if’ eating at me.
“Being honest that’s probably the biggest aspect of it.
“In footballing terms everyone was saying ‘Do it, do it’, but it wasn’t just as simple as that.
“There’s so many things I had to take into consideration, and it’s the ability to deal with all that.
“I need to know everything is okay family-wise so that I can go and do the job I want to.
“If I have any reservations in my mind that it’s not then I won’t be able to go and do that job.
“The family won’t move over straight away, we’re going to leave it a few months and I’ll commute back and forth.
“It’s crazy how short a trip it is, I could probably be in Glasgow quicker than I could be in Dublin.
“It’s just until I find my feet over there, and to be honest the first few months are probably going to be so busy I would see them as much as I would at home anyway.
“We’re confident we’ve found a way that will work, but you’re ripping apart your whole life in the space of 72 hours.”
Kearney took up his role in Paisley on Monday morning with an interesting opening fixture at home to champions Celtic on Friday night.
“Yeah nice easy start, just turn up and pick up the three points,” joked Kearney.
“A new manager can bring an edge to things.
“As much as I’ll be on edge this week building relationships, the players will be out to impress the new man.
“Hopefully we can get that first big effort that we want.
“The ground is brilliant, it was built about 10 years ago, but they’ve refurbished a lot of it and kept it fresh.
“When I was over on Saturday I could just picture what it was going to be like on Friday night.
“It will be absolutely bouncing. And even if I do nothing else in my life that one experience will be incredible.
“It’s crazy that I’ll be going to the likes of Celtic Park and Ibrox and standing opposite Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard.
“It hasn’t even hit home yet though, it will be surreal.
“Brendan sent me a nice message welcoming to Scotland on Saturday, and I’m looking to catching up with him on Friday.”