DEFIANT Buddies boss Gus MacPherson last night insisted he’s more concerned about the WEATHER than Ian Harte’s shock decision to snub Saints.
Irish full-back Harte verbally agreed a deal with MacPherson on Thursday that would have seen him join the Paisley club until the end of the season – but then performed a dramatic U-turn at the last minute to leave St Mirren supporters seething.
However, the Saints gaffer remained diplomatic yesterday and insisted he is more interested in today’s vital Scottish Cup clash with Motherwell than dwelling on the collapse of the deal to bring the former Republic of Ireland star to the club.
MacPherson told Express Sports: “We just have to accept it and move on. Our preparations have been hampered more by the weather.
“It’s disappointing but that’s the nature of the game we’re in.”
The Buddies boss had an hour-long ‘Harte-to-Harte’ telephone chat with the one-time Leeds United man on Thursday night and the player was due to head north from his Durham home yesterday morning for a medical in Paisley.
But, to add insult to injury, 31-year-old Harte didn’t even have the courtesy to inform MacPherson in person of his decision to leave Saints in the lurch.
MacPherson said: “I’ve not heard from Ian myself but, through other parties, I believe the deal is dead.
“I spoke to Ian at length on Thursday night and I was led to believe a deal had been agreed, although it’s never done until the player puts pen to paper.
“He was talking away and he was fine and was on his way up. He’d spoken to our general manager, Brian Caldwell, and we’d also spoken to his representatives and we got a phone call on Thursday afternoon to say the deal was agreed.
“The way it was left was that he said he would phone me in the morning. He said he wanted more time to speak to his wife.
“It’s a player’s prerogative to sign or to change his mind but, in the last conversation we had, he said he would phone in the morning after speaking to his family.”
There has been speculation within the game that Harte and his representatives have used Saints to entice other clubs into offering the player a more lucrative deal.
However, MacPherson would not be drawn on that, adding only that “time will tell.”
He admitted it now looks almost certain he will have to soldier on over the coming weeks without a recognised left-back following Franco Miranda’s ankle surgery, which is expected to keep the Argentine ace sidelined for the next month.
MacPherson added: “The transfer window has shut and there are only one or two players who are available. We were looking in that area and the Ian Harte deal was one we tried to do quickly.
“We were led to believe that Ian wanted to get playing again and we were willing to give him that chance.
“In terms of a short-team deal that could have worked for both parties, we were able to offer him something but he’s had a sudden change of mind.”
Meanwhile, MacPherson is relishing this afternoon’s trip to Fir Park and has pinpointed on-loan Celtic kid Cillian Sheridan as the main threat to St Mirren’s cup dreams.
He added: “We’ve seen Cillian for a few years as he’s come through the ranks and he’s a talented youngster.
“Celtic obviously think highly of him if they were prepared to let him lead the line against Manchester United in the Champions League.
“We’re looking forward to the game, although we know it’s going to be difficult.”