Houston first joined United as Craig Levein's assistant in October 2006
Peter Houston says he is too familiar with the Dundee United players to become the permanent manager of the Scottish Premier League club.
The 51-year-old had been promoted from his assistant manager's job after Craig Levein's appointment as Scotland boss.
"The familiarity between me and the players is very strong. I'm not looking to take the job on," said Houston.
He watched United lose 7-1 to Rangers on Wednesday but will stay at Tannadice for the time being.
"I think it's for the benefit of the football club and for the benefit of Peter Houston as well that I continue to enjoy the day-to-day coaching and training of the players," he added.
"Taking the step up and taking a step away from the players when I know them so well and they know me so well is going to be a difficult task.
"I don't know of many instances in the past where it has worked successfully. Walter Smith was one, he had five years at Rangers (as assistant before becoming manager in 1991). However, those were different circumstances.
"I hope to stay here. I've got two-and-a-half years of a contract (left) if the new manager wants to work with me. If not, then I understand, it's football. But I want to stay here and the chairman, having had a wee chat with him, would like me to stay as well.
"I want to stay here and I'll try my very best to do that and hopefully, when the new manager comes in, if he wants to keep me, he'll get my 100% backing like Craig Levein did."
Houston's first game as interim boss was Saturday's 0-0 draw with Kilmarnock before the heavy loss at Ibrox.
Asked if the defeat in Glasgow had influenced his decision not to pursue the Tannadice hotseat, Houston replied: ""No, definitely not.
"Some people are built to be managers and some people are built to be coaches and assistant managers. At this particular time, I've looked at it and I think assistant manager is my role and that means working every day with the players, bonding with them and being a link between the manager and the players.
I'm not saying that in the future I wouldn't want to take a manager's job but it would have to be at a different football club where I knew nobody
"It's worked quite well here over the last three years. If that's what you're good at, why would you want to try and change it and take on what is a really stress-related job and get yourself up to high dough, which a manager normally does?
"Don't get me wrong, as an assistant manager, you get up to high dough standing in the dugout as well when you're getting beat.
"I'm not saying that in the future I wouldn't want to take a manager's job but it would have to be at a different football club where I knew nobody.
"I don't think it works when you know the players so well, and they're familiar with you. I'm quite relaxed about my decision.
Houston insists he does not know who is in the frame to succeed Levein, but added: "There are a lot of applicants for the job.
"The chairman's going to narrow his list down to maybe four or five candidates and meet them.
"We've got an important cup tie against Partick Thistle next week and I think the chairman will want to move quickly and get him in amongst the players as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, Houston has also ruled himself out of becoming Levein's full-time international scout, a role that would involve travelling to watch Scotland's future opponents.
Houston said: "Craig and I have spoken about. It's not for me but if Craig wants me to go help him out when the Scotland games come about, I'd be more that delighted to do that, if indeed the football club let me and the manager, whoever it may be, allows me off for that couple of days.
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