Craigan makes Fir Park return

Craigan heads home Motherwell's opener in their 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final win over St Johnstone at Hampden in 2011.
Craigan heads home Motherwell's opener in their 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final win over St Johnstone at Hampden in 2011.

Former skipper Stephen Craigan is back at Fir Park after being named as the new manager of the club’s under-20s side.

The club’s most capped player of all time is taking over from Jonatan Johansson who announced last week that he is moving on to pastures new after three years.

Since retiring three years ago Craigan (38) has combined his media work with managing Northern Ireland’s under-19 side.

However he is now back at Fir Park for a third stint - following two separate spells as a player - and will work alongside Ian Baraclough, Steve Robinson and recently appointed goalkeeping coach Jim Hollman in a new-look backroom team.

Craigan began his senior career at ‘Well in the mid 1990s before leaving in 2000 for a three-year stint at Partick Thistle, returning to ’Well in 2003.

He went on to play a total of 379 times in Claret and Amber and gained 52 of 54 Northern Ireland caps as a Motherwell player.

On his return Craigan said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to return to Motherwell for a third time and I am very much looking forward to the challenge of working with the under-20s side.

“Ultimately, the Under 20s is the bridge between the Elite Academy and the first-team.

“It’ll be my role to ensure our brightest young players are fully prepared to push their way into the first team picture, bringing themselves to the attention of the management team both with their performances at training and in games.

“Motherwell, from the outside looking in, seems to be a club very much on the up. The new owner and the new people involved are breathing freshness back into things and there appears to be an excitement about the new season ahead.

“I have very much enjoyed my coaching experiences so far and I am looking forward to the challenge of working with young players on a more regular basis.”

The club said former Rangers and Finland striker Johansson was leaving with their best wishes for his future career.

He said: “After careful consideration I decided to move on. I now look forward to my next challenge and to further my career.

“I would like to thank Motherwell FC for giving me the opportunity to develop and learn from some great coaches for three successful seasons.

“I would like to thank all the wonderful staff at the club for their support and help as well as all the young players that I have worked with; you really have inspired and improved me.”