McManus signing no Mickey Mouse

Stephen McManus
Stephen McManus
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Stuart McCall successfully persuaded Nicky Law to sign for Motherwell after meeting in Florida and has pulled off the trick for a second time.

Two years ago McCall was on holiday in Florida when he bumped into his former Bradford City charge Law and ‘brought’ him back to Lanarkshire with him.

This summer it was the turn of former Celtic captain Stephen McManus who was similarly taken by McCall’s powers of persuasion over a cup of coffee .

Although McCall admits the signing of the Scottish international defender was far from a certainty with Hibs also keen to land McManus.

He said: “When I met Nicky Law I sold him on the idea that within two years I would have him playing in the Premiership or at Celtic or Rangers, and of course he has now gone to Rangers.

“Stephen McManus has already been at Celtic and he sure isn’t going to sign for Rangers, but as it happened having spoken to his agent I knew he was out in Florida so we met in Perkins’ coffee house for what was supposed to be 15 minutes and turned into an hour and a half.

“I thought if we could have got him to Spain that would have been key to signing him, but he wanted to spend a week at Hibs.

“I thought that might put a spanner in the works, but was delighted when we came back and he gave the answer that he was coming to us.

“If I’m honest I wasn’t looking for a centre half, we lost two right backs in Tom Hateley and Steven Saunders , but when I heard at the end of last season that he might be coming back up the road from Middlesborough decided to take a chance.

“I spoke to Gordon Strachan in Croatia and the physio at Bristol City where he was on loan and after talking to him for a few minutes I knew the type of man he was.

“He’s got fantastic leadership qualities, is a really good professional and has seen and done it all, so I’m absolutely delighted to have him here.”

At the age of 30, McManus says it is the right move for him at the right time.

He said: “You just have to go with your gut feeling and my gut feeling was to come here.

“I was really impressed with Hibs, it was great, but I really enjoyed my time with Motherwell and the manager was a big factor in me signing.

“I think I have made the right decision, I didn’t want to just come back up here and wind down my career I want to be as successful as I possibly can and make some good memories for the Motherwell fans.

“It’s a completely different challenge for me, growing up at Celtic the demands are on you to win things, but this is perhaps a more difficult challenge and one I’m looking forward to.”