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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
Paatelainen is a Saint
Hibs striker Mixu Paatelainen
Mixu Paatelainen is determined to play on at McDiarmid Park
Mixu Paatelainen is to remain in Scotland, becoming St Johnstone's first-team player-coach following his release by Hibernian.

The Finnish striker will form the managerial team next season along with boss Billy Stark and captain Jim Weir, who becomes reserve-team coach.

But the 36-year-old Paatelainen is determined to play on as Saints aim to win promotion from the First Division next season.

"I still want to be playing as long as I possibly can," he told his new club's website.

"I feel I have at least two years left in me and I'll be looking to fulfil that.

"There are still goals to come and, if I didn't have this enthusiasm both on and off the pitch, I wouldn't continue to play.

I topped the pre-season fitness chart at the beginning of last season
Mixu Paatelainen
"I know there have been some people questioning my age perhaps, but I don't see this as a problem at all.

"I know I am very fit and perhaps I'll surprise some people and prove some wrong.

"I know at Hibs some team-mates wondered how such a big lump could have so much stamina and a high level of fitness, but I topped the pre-season fitness chart at the beginning of last season.

"Hopefully, I can do that again this year.

"St Johnstone are a premier league outfit; the facilities here are second to none.

"I also realise how tough the First Division can be, but I already have four promotions under my belt - twice with Bolton and also with Hibs and Strasbourg, so I hope I can make it five with Saints.

"The coaching role is also something which made me decide to sign for Saints.

"There were options; at home in Finland, in Ireland and in Scotland, but I had a good feeling about Saints and, after speaking with Billy Stark, my mind was made up and I know I've made the right choice.

"It will be a big challenge and there will be a lot of pressure on us because we're the biggest club in the league, but I'm sure that, with a lot of hard work, we will get promotion."




HIBERNIAN

ST JOHNSTONE

SEE ALSO
Hibs axe Mixu
07 May 03  |  Hibernian

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