Former Ireland international Jim Goodwin’s managerial presence at the club level in Scotland moved up a notch in 2019 when he was handed the reins at St Mirren.
As a former player who had donned the black and white stripes of the Paisley club, Goodwin was a popular choice to take charge of the Buddies.
Known for his tough-talking, no-nonsense approach and strong leadership qualities on and off the pitch, those traits endeared him to the St Mirren faithful.
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Who is Jim Goodwin?
Born in Tramore, a town in County Waterford, Ireland in 1981, Jim Goodwin (full name James Michael Goodwin) had a long playing career that spanned England and Scotland.
In 2000 Goodwin was handed his first start as a professional player, getting a run out for Scottish Premiership giants Celtic, a club at which he had moved through the youth ranks.
That one game for Celtic was all that Goodwin had before being moved out from Parkhead on a free transfer to English league side Stockport.
His playing career in England also saw him move through the doors of Scunthorpe, Huddersfield and Oldham before a chance to move back to Scotland came his way in 2010.
Leaving Huddersfield, Goodwin moved back north of the border to join Hamilton Academicals.
Just four months later he got his first taste of life at St Mirren as he moved there on January 1st, 2011. It was to be the start of a long-term affair with the club.
Goodwin stayed with the Buddies until the end of the 2015/16 season, then on a free transfer, he moved to Alloa where he would play a few seasons before hanging up his playing boots.
During his career, Jim Goodwin earned one full cap for the Republic Of Ireland. That one appearance happened against Finland in 2014.
Jim Goodwin’s clubs during his playing career
- Scunthorpe United
- Oldham Athletic
- Hamilton Academicals
- St Mirren
First Managerial Job
The first managerial chance came Goodwin’s way in October 2016 when he took over as player-manager for Alloa.
With the new responsibilities, he stopped playing in January 2017. Aside from three games played at the start of the 2017/18 for the club, that was it as far as Goodwin’s professional playing career would go.
It wasn’t long before the Irishman had his first significant landmark as a manager, however. In 2018 Goodwin’s career really kicked off as he steered Alloa up to the Championship.
That happened through the playoff system, with Alloa first beating Raith Rovers 4-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
The Wasps would then go on to face Dumbarton in the Play-Off Final and things got off to a poor start for them there, losing the first leg at home 1-0.
But Alloa tied things up in the second leg with a 93rd-minute goal to leave the tie at 1-1. Five minutes into extra time, Goodwin’s Alloa struck again and held out to win a dramatic promotion.
To his huge credit, in the 2018/19 Scottish Championship season, Goodwin managed to keep The Wasps in the second tier, even though Alloa were only operating as a part-time club.
List of Jim Goodwin’s Major Honours as a player
- League One Winner – Scunthorpe 2006/07
- Scottish League Cup Winner – St Mirren 2012/13
- Uefa U16 Championship Winner – Ireland 1998
The move back to St Mirren
The relative success earned with Alloa in a managerial capacity, was apparently enough evidence for St Mirren, to lure Goodwin back to the club as their new manager.
The Buddies made a move for Goodwin to take over from Oran Kearney as boss for the start of the 2019/20 Scottish Premiership season.
In early 2021 Goodwin put pen to paper to sign a new 3-year contract at St Mirren Park, further strengthening his ties with the club.
Where could Goodwin’s managerial career take him?
The life of any professional football manager is a transitory one at best. Seasons change and managers are the first in the firing line when a club’s fortunes start to slide.
Goodwin’s time at St Mirren will naturally come to an end at some point, be it via an unfortunate sacking or through having been approached by a bigger club.
The natural progression for managerial opportunities within the Scottish top flight can prove to be limited for a lot of people.
Celtic have shown that they have the resources and willingness to spend money on managers from outside the country. So perhaps Rangers would be the biggest destination for Goodwin within the domestic game.
If the progress keeps going from Goodwin at St Mirren, perhaps pushing them to end a long streak without European football, then the bigger opportunities should come.
The likes of Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hearts or Hibernian would signify progress on the managerial ladder for Goodwin in Scotland.
Of course, because of his playing career, he has built connections in England as well. The strongest of those being Huddersfield with whom he had a couple of spells.
So that may be the direction for Goodwin when it comes to moving to management in England. There are, of course, probably larger, longer-term ambitions for Goodwin that could see him grab headlines in sport latest news.
Topping the list of those would be managing the Republic of Ireland. That move to the international level could also potentially come with Scotland of course.
The more time that Goodwin spends on that particular domestic front, the more that he could potentially put himself on the radar of the hierarchy of Scottish football when it comes time for them to look for a new head coach.
Jim Goodwin’s big moments as a player
Goodwin played in a defensive role throughout his career, so it wasn’t a career that had a lot of highlight-reel moments with him banging the ball in the back of the net.
During his time with St Mirren, playing 153 games for them, Goodwin scored just three goals.
Across 422 professional games, Goodwin, who played either centre half or defensive midfielder, netted 18 times.
The most he got for a single club was his seven goals in 103 games for Stockport Country between 2002 and 2005.
One of the biggest moments as a player for Goodwin came when he helped Scunthorpe win promotion to the Championship. That was as League One champions in the 2006/07 season.
Unfortunately, Scunthorpe didn’t survive the following season in the second tier and Goodwin was released by the club at the end of the campaign.
He was made captain by St Mirren for the 2011/12 season after becoming a fan favourite at the club.
Gritty performances, along with strong leadership qualities got him the role which naturally, down the line, probably helped put in his mind to become the future manager at the club.
In 2013, he fulfilled a boyhood dream of walking up the steps at Hampden Park as a winner. That was as St Mirren captain as well, as he led the Buddies to the 2013 Scottish League Cup title.
That biggest of football results for him with St Mirren came in a tense 3-2 success over Hearts and it ended a barren run of 26 years without a major trophy for the club.
Jim Goodwin FAQs
Did Jim Goodwin play for Ireland?
The international career for Jim Goodwin got off to a great start. At the Under 16 level he helped Ireland win the 1998 UEFA European Under-16 Championship. Ireland claimed their first title at that level with a victory over Italy in the final.
Goodwin only earned one full international cap by his country. That was as a substitute, coming on to replace goalscoring legend Robbie Keane as Ireland won 3-0 in Helsinki against Finland in an international friendly.
How many times did Jim Goodwin play for Celtic?
Despite spending his youth at Parkhead with Celtic, the full-time opportunity in the first squad never came the way of Goodwin. He had played for the Celtic U17 and Celtic U20 sides but he only had one game for the full Celtic side
That was in 2000 and it was a 2-0 result against Dundee United on the final day of the league season. Former Liverpool legend Kenny Danglish was Celtic boss and he had handed Goodwin and five other youngsters a chance.
The game meant nothing to Celtic who had already secured a second-place finish in the table behind great rivals Rangers. At least the scoreline for Goodwin was positive in football results.
What was Jim Goodwin’s highest transfer fee?
Goodwin was employed by eight different clubs during his professional career. Every move that he made to a new club was via a free transfer.
Briefly while on the books at Huddersfield, he spent some time at Oldham on loan. So throughout his almost two decades as a professional footballer, not once did he command a transfer fee.
What position did Jim Goodwin play?
Jim Goodwin mostly played in a defensive midfielder role throughout his career. That was a position that allowed him to use his energy and tackling ability to influence games, by offering protection to his defence.
During his career at St Mirren, he moved to the back four to play at centre half and was effective there, using his ability to read the game and physical strength to be a commanding figure.