Mark McGhee on sliding doors moment that cost Anfield dream

Mark McGhee: Recalled life-changing play-off defeats. Picture: SNS
Mark McGhee: Recalled life-changing play-off defeats. Picture: SNS
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Mark McGhee, who will celebrate his 900th game as a manager tomorrow at Tynecastle, has claimed if circumstances had gone in his favour he could have been managing Liverpool against Manchester United on Sunday.

The Motherwell boss believes missing out on promotion with Wolves and Millwall earlier in his long career cost him the chance of landing one of the top Premier League jobs.

And the 58-year-old, who is looking to join fellow Scots Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby, Jock Stein, Jim McLean and Jim Jefferies in achieving 1,000 games, believes his career is unfulfilled.

He said: “Losing in play-off games were the worst moments of my career. I lost narrowly in the last minute with Millwall against Birmingham in the play-off semi-final. That was painful.

“I lost with Wolves in the same circumstances to Crystal Palace. These were chances to go into the Premier League and they were life-changing games.

“That is the reason – and don’t misinterpret me here – why I’m managing Motherwell and not Liverpool.

“If I had won promotion on either of these occasions the chances are that’s the kind of place I would be.

“That’s the progression you need to make if you want to manage in the Premier League and I failed to make it so that’s why I feel unfulfilled.

“I’ve always been very much unfulfilled. I’m standing here having managed almost 900 games but I don’t feel as if I’ve been a success.

“I’ve not managed in the Premier League in the last 10 years which is what I set out to do, so therefore I still feel that I’ve got everything to prove and achieve.”

McGhee began his managerial career at Reading in 1991 and his only time in England’s top flight was a brief spell with Leicester City in 1994-95.

He also bossed Wolves, Millwall and Brighton before his first spell at Motherwell, where he finished third in 2008, and then had a disastrous 18 months at Aberdeen before going back to England for a spell with Bristol Rovers.

In keeping with the Liverpool theme, he revealed that one of his first tasks at Reading was to release Brendan Rogers.

McGhee knows winning his 900th game will be a challenge against a strong Hearts side but dismissed the notion of some that they are over-physical.

He said: “Their football style is aggressive and they are up and at you but they are not trying to hurt you.”

l Kilmarnock winger Greg Kiltie has signed a new deal which ties him the club until 2018. The 18-year-old had been linked with a move to Hibs.