Accies manager hopes to see angry side of ‘good guy’ Paatelainen
ASK almost anyone in Scottish football who knows what Mixu Paatelainen is like as a person, and invariably they will smile, compliment his affable nature and express warm sentiments.
If you asked the Dundee United players about his nature as he branded them “Rubbish with a capital R” and asked them “What’s the f*****g point in training?” shortly after being roundly thumped at Celtic Park, and they may have disagreed.
Martin Canning, who once played under Paatelainen and will travel with his Hamilton side to Tannadice this weekend to take on Dundee United, says that he is hoping to see the angry side of the hulking Finn when the referee blows for time on Saturday.
“I worked with Mixu at Hibs and he’s a lovely guy,” he said. “I really liked him, I thought his methods were good and I liked what he was doing there. At the time for me I’d been out for a year with an injury and I wanted to play every week, so I had a couple of frank meetings with him, let’s say, to try to persuade him I should be playing!
“From there I came here, but I really got on with Mixu at Hibs and he’s a good guy. To be fair, he can lose his temper but so can everybody, that’s part of football. He’s pretty controlled about it.
“Whether you’re a player or a manager you can lose the plot sometimes, and I’m sure when he does, he uses it in the right way. He’s definitely got that presence though and he definitely has that in him. We saw that once or twice at Hibs so I know he’s got that side to him, but he knows his stuff and he’s a real football guy.
“I think he’ll bring determination and grit to United, you could see his passion on Saturday, so for us it will be a difficult game.”
Canning knows that if Accies can strike early at Tannadice it could have a massive bearing on the outcome of the match given United’s low confidence levels, but he says that they try to impose themselves on their opponents from the first whistle no matter the opposition.
He said: “We always try to start games on the front-foot and of course this will be no different.
“You know what it’s like when you’re on a difficult run, if a team gets on top of you straight away then it can be hard.
“We’ll approach it the same way as we always do and go up there to win the game.
“I went to watch United on Saturday and I thought they were probably the better team in the first-half, but then St Johnstone got two quick goals right before half-time which kind of killed it.
“There wasn’t much in it in the second-half, although St Johnstone missed the penalty as well.
“But they looked decent and we’ll have to be at our best on Saturday to win the game.”
CANNING: ‘Mixu can lose his temper, but so can everybody’