NEW St Mirren manager Alan Stubbs has hailed Brendan Rodgers as the catalyst for improving the image of the Scottish game – and admits he is relishing pitting his wits against the Celtic boss.

Former Hibs head coach Stubbs sealed his return north of the border last Friday after an ill-fated 14-game spell in charge of English Championship outfit Rotherham came to an end in October 2016.

Since leaving the Leith outfit shortly after masterminding a historic Scottish Cup triumph in May 2016 , a host of high-profile managers have taken up posts in the top flight.

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Rodgers’ appointment to the Hoops two years ago was followed by Neil Lennon being unveiled at Hibs, while Craig Levein returned to the Hearts dugout last August and former Chelsea and Liverpool number two Steve Clarke took on the reins at Kilmarnock in October 2017.

Just last month Liverpool and England legend Steven Gerrard succeeded Graeme Murty at Rangers and former Celtic and Everton centrehalf Stubbs insists the Buddies’ return to the Premiership will be an experience for both himself and the club.

He said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for me to come up against really experienced managers who have achieved a lot in the game already.

“Brendan has been incredible since he’s come here, Steve Clarke has coached at the two of the biggest clubs in the world and he did a great job at Kilmarnock last year.

“Craig Levein has stepped up from director of football and I’m sure Hearts are going to be a stronger outfit next season.

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“Neil has done a great job at Hibs and you look at the other teams, Neil [McCann] at Dundee, Tommy [Wright] at St Johnstone.

“People now talk about Scottish football in such a positive way and there is a real feelgood factor – and I think Brendan was the catalyst of that.”

Stubbs, meanwhile, insists the squad he inherited from Jack Ross at the Buddies will be given time to prove they can make the step up to the Premiership following last season’s title triumph, but admits he is already planning changes.

He said: “We’ve looked at the squad and there are areas that need improving but I think it's important that we give he players an opportunity to stake their claim, that’s the least they deserve.”