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Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 17:36 UK

McGhee dedicated to new Dons post


Dons are not second choice - McGhee

New manager Mark McGhee insists he is fully focused on Aberdeen after missing out on the Celtic post.

"On a scale of one to two, I'd put the Celtic job above Aberdeen," admitted McGhee at a media conference to announce his arrival from Motherwell.

"I didn't get the Celtic job though and Aberdeen fans can be absolutely sure that I'm not looking towards Parkhead.

"You won't hear me talking about Celtic. I'm only interested in Aberdeen and they will get 100% of my efforts."

And McGhee says he had finally set his sights on a move to Pittodrie before being told he had not got the Celtic job.

"I sent Willie Miller a text last Friday to say that I was at a stage where I was prepared to speak seriously about coming to Aberdeen at the exclusion of anything that was happening at Celtic," he said.

"I didn't actually know that I hadn't got the Celtic job until the Saturday morning.

"I had not received any unofficial word from Celtic. It was just at that point I was worried about losing the opportunity of coming to Aberdeen so I sent Willie a text.

"I hope that reassures a few of the fans."

McGhee returns to Pittodrie on a one-year rolling contract, having been at the Motherwell helm for two campaigns.

The 52-year-old former Wolves, Reading and Leicester boss replaces Jimmy Calderwood, who left the Dons at the end of the season.


His assistant Scott Leitch also makes the switch from Fir Park after a compensation agreement, believed to be around £200,000, was reached between the Scottish Premier League rivals for the pair.

McGhee said of his chairman at the Steelmen: "I knew that John Boyle understood where I was coming from and that the time was right for me to leave Motherwell."

And the new manager explained why he thought the timing of his arrival in Aberdeen was perfect too.

"Given the present environment, the club is in a healthy state, with good young players, who have the potential to get better," said McGhee, who rose to prominence as a player at Pittodrie in the early 1980s.

"They have finished in fourth position for the last two seasons and we have European football again; it's a good time to come to Aberdeen."

In his two seasons at Motherwell, McGhee led them to third and seventh-place finishes in the league and the Lanarkshire outfit were reluctant to let him go.

McGhee is now back at the club that he served with distinction, under Alex Ferguson, from 1978 until 1984, when he left to play for Hamburg.

In that time he scored 63 goals in 164 appearances.

He was the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1982 and a year later helped the Dons defeat Real Madrid to lift the European Cup-Winners' Cup.

With a playing record like this, McGhee will be guaranteed a warm welcome by the Pittodrie supporters.

His managerial career began with Reading in 1991, as player-manager, before spells at Wolves, Leicester, Millwall and Brighton.

However, it was his ability to reinvigorate Motherwell, whom he joined in June 2007 on a three-year deal, and his handling of the tragedy of the death of club captain Phil O'Donnell that have attracted suitors in Scotland.

Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee

McGhee makes return to Aberdeen

In January 2008, after a bright start to his career at Motherwell, he was interviewed for the Scotland job vacated by Alex McLeish when he left for Birmingham City.

McGhee described missing out to George Burley as "a huge disappointment".

Then last summer he was offered the chance to become manager of Hearts, taking over from interim boss Stevie Frail, by the club's owner Vladimir Romanov.

McGhee was at the airport, ready to fly to Lithuania to clinch the deal, but decided not to make the trip.

Instead he said he wanted to lead the Steelmen into Europe after an absence of 13 years, although that adventure was limited to home and away defeats by AS Nancy in the Uefa Cup.

On his departure from Parkhead, Gordon Strachan recommended his former Dons team-mate McGhee to the Celtic board as his successor.

He was interviewed for the post, but with Celtic now focused on securing Tony Mowbray as their new manager, McGhee was free to join Aberdeen.

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see also
Dons will welcome returning hero
12 Jun 09 |  Aberdeen
Mark McGhee's career in pictures
12 Jun 09 |  Scottish Premier
Well not rushing boss appointment
15 Jun 09 |  Motherwell
Dons will not rush manager choice
03 Jun 09 |  Aberdeen
Strachan eyes McGhee as successor
26 May 09 |  Celtic
Calderwood tells of Dons impasse
25 May 09 |  Aberdeen
Cup woes sealed Calderwood fate
25 May 09 |  Aberdeen
Well reject Hearts bid for McGhee
23 May 08 |  Motherwell
Dons part with manager Calderwood
24 May 09 |  Aberdeen

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