Former Hibs, Kilmarnock & Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen returns to management

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FORMER Hibs and Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen has been appointed head coach of the Hong Kong national side.

The 52-year-old was unveiled on Tuesday and succeeds Englishman Gary White at the helm of the Asian minnows after penning a contract until 2020.

Finnish legend Paatelainen’s first match in charge will be a friendly against Taiwan on June 11 before they embark on the lengthy qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in September.

He said: “I’m honoured to be given the chance to come and be the head coach of the Hong Kong national team. I’m looking forward to doing my utmost to help the team to improve and help the football here improve as a whole.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity. From the first moment that I started talking to everybody at the Hong Kong FA, I realised there is a real desire to develop and go forward. I want to be involved with an attitude like that.”

Paatelainen has been out of work since leaving his previous job as Latvia manager in December, while he was also in charge of Finland between 2011 and 2015.

At club level, Paatelainen has bossed Cowdenbeath, Hibs, Kilmarnock and Dundee United in Scotland with varying degrees of success.

He led the Blue Brazil to their first league title in 67 years when they won the Third Division in 2005/06, claimed the football writers’ manager of the year award following a super 2010/11 campaign with Killie but endured the pain of relegation with United in 2016.

Paatelainen, a cult hero as a player with United, Aberdeen, Bolton and the Hibees, has also managed TPS in his homeland and Thai outfit Ubon UMT United.

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