Former St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour believes the Buddies’ John McGinn windfall could help them survive the coronavirus crisis.
One of Gilmour’s final acts as Saints chief was to negotiate a 33-per-cent sell-on clause when he allowed McGinn to join Hibernian on a free transfer in 2015.
Three years later, that decision paid out a seven-figure sum when the Scotland midfielder clinched a £3.5million move to Aston Villa.
Now Gilmour believes that cash – combined with further fees banked from the sales of Lewis Morgan, Stevie Mallan and Kyle McAllister in recent years – will ensure his successor Gordon Scott is able to safely steer the Paisley outfit through the pandemic.
Gilmour told the PA news agency: “I’m not closely involved with the club any more but I think we should be able to ride this storm for a couple of months.
“The one advantage St Mirren have at the moment is that they have money in the bank.
“They have taken in £1.9million in transfers over the last few years. Yes they’ve spent some of it but they must have £500,000 left of it I’d have thought.
“Sadly clubs are going to have to dip into their reserves but needs must.
“I see the SPFL say they have no money to support the clubs but in fairness the league tends to give out every penny they’ve got.
“St Mirren got to the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup and the game was televised, so they will have some money from that. I’d have thought a couple of hundred thousand.
“It will be tough but I think St Mirren will be OK. The positive thing is that they have got to this point in the season before the virus has struck.
“A lot of the guys will be out of the contract in June and then will come the end of season payment from the league.”
Scott moved to assure Saints supporters on Tuesday that the club is in a “strong position” to survive the shutdown.
The St Mirren Independent Supporters Association is scheduled to take a majority stake in the club next year, four years ahead of initially planned after agreeing a deal for Paisley-based charity Kibble to purchase a 28 per cent stake last month.
But Gilmour admits some of the Buddies’ rival clubs will not be in such a fortunate position.
“There will be other clubs who will face major issues with the lack of income coming in during the shutdown,” he said. “Sadly I think some will have to look at redundancies.”
UEFA has agreed to postpone this summer’s European Championship by 12 months in order to allow associations across the continent to complete their domestic competitions.
But Gilmour thinks Saints might prefer to see the league called off now after Jim Goodwin’s team claimed a crucial win over relegation rivals Hearts in their final game before Hampden bosses halted Ladbrokes Premiership action.
He said: “They will still have to pay out wages to the players effectively for nothing over these next couple of months but the crucial thing for Saints is where they end up in the table.
“If the league finishes now and the club is given ninth place, then that would be the best case-scenario.
“I expect the club will have budgeted to finish 10th or 11th, so those extras places could see them 200 to 300 grand ahead of where they thought they’d be.”