Motherwell under-20 coach Stephen Craigan rules himself out of running to replace Mark McGhee

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Motherwell under-20 coach Stephen Craigan insists Stephen Robinson has a chance to stake a claim for the vacant manager’s post after ruling himself out of the running to replace Mark McGhee.

McGhee was sacked on Tuesday after a run of four crushing defeats, including Saturday’s 5-1 set-back to Dundee, left the Steelmen in grave relegation trouble.

First team team coach Robinson has been named as interim manager and will be supported by assistant James McFadden and Craigan for Saturday’s crucial match away to Kilmarnock.

Northern Irishman Craigan led his under-20 side to Scottish Youth Cup success last season but insists he is not interested in becoming first team manager.

Craigan said: “I’ve said clearly that it’s not for me, I don’t want it.

(pic: BT Sport)

“Stephen Robinson will take the game on Saturday. Myself and James McFadden will give him all the support that he needs.

“Ultimately if he wins the game he gives a proposition to the board to say ‘look what I can do, I can potentially take this club forward’.

“I’m guessing there are applications coming in from everywhere.

“I’m sure there has been plenty of contact from all sorts of agents and managers.”

Craigan took on the reins at Fir Park when Ian Baraclough was sacked in September 2015 and admits he is saddened that the club are looking for another new manager.

Speaking to BT Sport, he added: “Mark had a meeting with the staff and the players on Tuesday and he said on he got the sense on Saturday with the crowd being unhappy that he felt there was going to be an unease.

“When you leave it so late, the fact you have Saturday, Sunday, Monday and it was Tuesday morning, you kind of think everything had gone over and he would get the chance to see the week out.

“It’s certainly disappointing, that’s the second time in 18 months I’ve been involved in someone losing their job and it’s not nice. It’s a sombre place at this moment in time.”

Hamilton leap-frogged Motherwell in the bottom six following their surprise win over Aberdeen on Tuesday but Craigan hopes a clear-the-air meeting between the squad can be the trigger for an upturn in Motherwell’s fortunes.

He added: “The players had a meeting on Monday morning and there were a few home truths said out.

“The senior players stood up and spoke and just reminded people of their responsibilities.

“Sometimes it’s not about you and feeing sorry for yourself, you have to look at the bigger picture. There’s staff that have been working for the club for 30 years and if the team goes down they could potentially lose they jobs, they could lose their mortgages and things like that.

“There was a few home truths about what they have to do; look after yourself, as in on the pitch and do the job for the team.”

And the former Motherwell captain is adamant that they can avoid relegation.

He added: “I think Motherwell have the team to stay up.

“I think if you got to 36, 37 points that would almost keep you safe and Motherwell have 24.

“It’s so nip and tuck down at the bottom and after the split you have to play each other.”

 
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