Stuart McCall admits interest in Dundee United job

Stuart McCall is drawn to the size and history of Tannadice. Picture: SNS Group
Stuart McCall is drawn to the size and history of Tannadice. Picture: SNS Group
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Stuart McCall, the former Motherwell manager, admits becoming Jackie McNamara’s successor at Dundee United is something that “interests” him but he has ruled himself out of a return to Fir Park.

McCall has been linked with the currently vacant posts at both clubs and his strong emotional ties with Motherwell, where his side twice finished second behind Celtic in the league, meant many presumed he could be persuaded to return.

I loved my time at Motherwell, but it’s not something I will be revisiting

Stuart McCall

However, McCall, speaking in an interview with Sky Sports yesterday, confirmed he had ruled himself out of the running for the Fir Park post.

Ian Baraclough was sacked by Motherwell a week ago after a 3-2 League Cup reversal to Morton. But McCall has more interest in the vacancy at Tannadice following McNamara’s departure at the weekend, after a 2-1 defeat to ten-man St Johnstone. He suggested United had more potential than Motherwell, where he wanted to avoid risking ruining his legacy.

The Scotland assistant manager is currently preparing for the forthcoming Euro 2016 double-header against Poland and Gibraltar but said he would be open to an approach from United.

“That might be one of interest to me,” he said. “They are a bigger club [than Motherwell] in terms of the fanbase and certainly have a bigger budget – third biggest in Scotland, I think. They have a good history, have been in a couple of Scottish Cup finals of late and should be challenging for the European spots.”

Motherwell, he added, was now in the past. “I won’t be returning to Motherwell. I had my time there and I loved my time there, but it’s not something I will be revisiting,” he said.

“I don’t think we could ever match that level of success we had there – a Champions League place, reaching the Scottish Cup final and finishing as runners-up to Celtic twice. A lot of people say ‘never go back’ and, although it’s a club I am very fond of, I won’t be contemplating going back.”

McCall is reported to be one of those interesting United chairman Stephen Thompson as he begins putting together a list of candidates for the manager’s position at Tannadice. Current Inverness manager John Hughes and Paul Lambert, who left Aston Villa last season, are also reported to feature.

Thompson has stressed he won’t be rushed into a decision and although he was in London yesterday, it was not thought to be on football business.

Thompson has already ruled out a move for Northern Ireland’s Edinburgh-based manager Michael O’Neill, who played for the Tannadice club between 1989 and 1993. O’Neill himself stated yesterday he is concentrating only on ensuring Northern Ireland earn the three points against Greece next week that would guarantee qualification for Euro 2016.

“It’s not something I have given any thought to,” he said. “I suppose since I’m based in Scotland, my name has been linked with jobs in the past in the Premiership but my only focus is on this job, I’ve always said that.

“We’re so close to achieving something really historic, and something memorable. It’s very seldom a manager will get the chance to take his country to a major finals. I am on the brink of possibly being able to do that and if we can, I would be looking forward to that experience.”

O’Neill is interested in signing a new deal with Northern Ireland should they qualify for Euro 2016.

“Committing myself to Northern Ireland long-term is certainly something I’ve considered,” he said. “If that opportunity is presented to me it’s something I’ll give serious thought to. I think we’ve really grown in the last three-and-a-half years. There will be transition in this squad but beneath that we have the template to build a good group of players again.”