McGhee has no re­grets over Hearts job snub

The Herald - Sport - - FOOTBALL - GRAEME MCGARRY

MOTHER­WELL man­ager Mark McGhee is not one for look­ing back in anger, de­spite his tongue-in-cheek com­ments last week about the Rangers EBT scheme cost­ing him a run­ners-up bonus.

That’s why when he casts his mind back to the mo­ment he fa­mously de­cided not to board a plane to Lithua­nia to dis­cuss tak­ing over at Hearts in favour of re­main­ing at Mother­well, he is still sure to this day that he made the right call.

De­spite the cur­rent op­pos­ing tra­jec­to­ries of the strug­gling Fir Park side, where he is now back in charge, and the high-fly­ing Tynecas­tle men who they will take on in La­nark­shire on Satur­day, he stands by his choice back in 2008 and the rea­sons be­hind it – even though he is sure he could have worked with Vladimir Romanov.

He said: “I don’t really think about what would have hap­pened had I got on that plane.

“I don’t think you can look back. I stayed at Mother­well, had an­other great year here and en­joyed my­self.

“It was the right de­ci­sion and it wasn’t just about foot­ball. It was a per­sonal de­ci­sion too as Maria was about to have our baby, Archie. I needed to be there for them that sum­mer and I knew I’d be charg­ing around Europe on be­half of Hearts if I’d taken the job.

“There were all sorts of things go­ing on that made it right for me not to take it. It was a job I would have loved to have been able to take. Hearts are a great club and I think I would have en­joyed it. But at the time, it was the right de­ci­sion for me to stay at Mother­well.

“I think I’d have got on fine with Vladimir. I met him a few times and got on fine with him. I didn’t knock back the job be­cause of him. I didn’t take it be­cause of John Boyle and for those per­sonal rea­sons.

“I don’t know what hap­pened un­der Vladimir af­ter that so I can’t really com­ment. All I know is that things changed. But Vladimir definitely wasn’t a fac­tor in me not tak­ing the job.

“How does Les (Hutchi­son) com­pare to him? They are dif­fer­ent. Vlad speaks bet­ter English!”

If McGhee was un­der any il­lu­sions about the scale of the task he has in try­ing to per­form the kind of Lazarus-style res­ur­rec­tion with this Mother­well squad he has in­her­ited from Ian Bar­a­clough as he per­formed on Mau­rice Mal­pas’s class of 2007, then they were roundly put to bed with the 3-0 thump­ing at Ross County last week­end.

He says though that with ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers re­turn­ing from sus­pen­sion and in­jury, Mother­well are bet­ter-equipped for the chal­lenge this Satur­day.

He ad­mit­ted: “It’s a re­lief to have them back. Hammy (Ste­vie Ham­mell) and Las (Keith Lasley) came through an un­der-20s game in mid­week and Stephen McManus is back from sus­pen­sion.

“Those three have hun­dreds of games un­der their belt and that is some­thing we lacked against Ross County.

“I wasn’t really scathing about the per­for­mance last week and I didn’t mean to be. I was just be­ing hon­est.

“The play­ers showed what they are – in­ex­pe­ri­enced lads. For ex­am­ple, the two cen­tre halves need some­one like Stephen McManus to play be­side them to bring them on.

“I didn’t want to pre­tend there were a lot of pos­i­tives. Ross County de­served to beat us and I was ac­cept­ing that.

“Noth­ing hap­pened that I didn’t know could hap­pen, given the way the team was.

“We still have a lot of hard work to do. I wasn’t brought here be­cause things were go­ing well. I was brought here be­cause they aren’t go­ing well. Nor­mally that’s what hap­pens when you get a job – but I have a clear pic­ture of what I need to do. I know what the owner expects and what the vi­sion is in terms of de­vel­op­ing young play­ers.

“We aren’t in any panic. We want to the get the squad right and then look at where our expectations lie. I have a clear idea of the squad.

“I know them in­ti­mately now – strengths and weak­nesses. I have a fair idea who I think is go­ing to ben­e­fit us in the long run and who isn’t.

“I know where I will have to make the changes, but I can’t do that tomorrow. Play­ers have con­tracts, teams need to want to take them, I need to find re­place­ments – there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Hearts are a great club and I think I would have en­joyed it. But at the time, it was the right de­ci­sion for me to stay at Mother­well

NO CHANGE OF HEART: Mark McGhee is cer­tain he made the right de­ci­sion not to take Tynecas­tle job

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