ALLOA defender Andy Graham has backed Jack Ross to be a success at St Mirren and is convinced his former manager has the skills to go to the very top of the game.

Graham knows Ross well having played under him when the former St Mirren defender was assistant to Ian Murray at Dumbarton, the pair then joined up again when Graham moved from Ayr to Alloa in the summer.

During both spells Graham saw enough of Ross’ approach and methods to comfortably set him apart from most managers the experienced defender was played under, saying Ross was up with the very best he has worked with.

Ross’ research on opposition, attention to detail and match preparation impressed Graham, particularly given the pair worked together in part-time football, and he says his training sessions were always well received by players.

After Saints gave Ross the opportunity in full-time football, Graham believes the manager will repay the Paisley club by turning Saints’ season around.

He said: “I have absolutely no doubt that he will go far in the game. He is one of the best I have worked with, training is always spot on. The tempo is really high but it is enjoyable, every session is different but he also works towards specific opposition.

“He does his research very thoroughly so every player knows who they are up against and what their strengths and weaknesses might be.

“I always liked that approach, I always felt totally ready to go on a Saturday.

“I’d say that level of detail is quite unusual at part-time clubs. Jack had a great team behind him who would go and watch games for him as well.

“He’s got a very good breadth of knowledge across Scottish football now which will help him and I think he’ll do really well at St Mirren and probably get them back to where they should be.

“As a person you’ll struggle to find someone with a bad word to say about him, in management that is a big thing because there’s always going to be guys who are upset at not playing. The way he treats people is right and if players are treated right they want to play for the manager.”

After just one game in charge of St Mirren, Ross’ reign is still in its infancy and Saints fans will be watching closely over the coming weeks to see if there is any change to the style of play.

Graham believes Ross will try to implement one of the fundamentals of his time at Alloa, a high pressing game designed to put the opposition under pressure and to win possession back in attacking areas.

The 33-year-old also expects St Mirren’s attacking players to flourish under Ross after witnessing Alloa’s forwards blossom under his tutelage.

He said: “He really wanted us to press the other team high up the pitch and really have a go at them. For the forward players he just encouraged them to play so much. He always said ‘I don’t care if you give the ball away seven times out of eight I don’t care because the other time will be the time you score a goal’.

“He understood, for forward players especially, that was massive and that could be seen in the way we started the season. Our attackers were full of confidence and as a result we scored a lot of goals.”

St Mirren legend Jim Goodwin took over from Ross at Alloa, the midfielder becomes the Wasps player/manager in his first managerial role.

Graham backed the club’s decision to give Goodwin the opportunity and admits it was a popular choice among the squad.

He added: “Jim taking over is a good appointment and it is a good opportunity for him. He was enjoying Jack’s approach so nothing has really changed.

“I knew Jim from when we played together at Hamilton Accies, he definitely has the right temperament off the park.

“It’s been a seamless change and nothing has fazed him, he has always been that type of character.”