Mark McGhee joined Motherwell in June 2007 after almost two years out the game. The former Reading, Leicester, Wolves and Millwall boss was without a club after leaving Brighton, returning to Scotland where he made his name as a player with Aberdeen and Celtic.
He was given the task of taking the club forward, but the success that followed surpassed even his expectations. In his first season, McGhee led the club to third in the table, the highest league finish for 13 years.
He transformed the team from relegation candidates to European challengers with an attractive brand of stylish, attacking football. But it wasn’t just his management skills that won him plaudits at Fir Park – the way he has handled the tragic death of captain Phil O’Donnell was evidence to his real abilities.
His success inevitably attracted suitors and McGhee was shortlisted for the Scotland job and approached by Hearts to take over the hot seat at Tynecastle. He remained at Motherwell for a second season, narrowly missing out on a top-six place.
But qualification for Europe was again achieved via the Fair Play League, acknowledgement of the discipline he installed in the players.
The end of the campaign brought fresh speculation about his future, having been recommended for the Celtic job by departing manager Gordon Strachan. However, it was Aberdeen who secured his services after lengthy negotiations with their former striker.