Fans' favourite Keith Lasley was today appointed as Motherwell FC's assistant manager.
The 37-year-old, who has made almost 500 appearances for the Steelmen, will replace James McFadden as Stephen Robinson's right hand man.
Lasley told MFCTV: “It’s a big change obviously, but this is something I’ve been planning for for a long time and this side of the game is something I’m passionate about.
"It’s not fully sunk in that I won’t be pulling on that jersey again but I’m sure that will take a little bit of time – but the excitement of this opportunity is starting to outweigh that certainly.”
“It’s hard in a short space to cover it to be honest but the main factor is that I’m just thankful to have been around this place for as long as I have – from the first day I walked in here, off a building site in to Motherwell and thinking that I would go on to play however many games, captain the club, play in Europe and play until the age of 37 is beyond my wildest expectations.”
As previously reported in the Motherwell Times, Lasley's initial intention had been to continue as a player next season having triggered a clause in his contract.
But that decision has been overturned, meaning that Lasley's final playing appearance in claret and amber was the memorable 3-1 home victory over Kilmarnock on May 16 which guaranteed Motherwell's Scottish Premiership survival.
Motherwell gaffer Robinson said: “I spent a great deal of time speaking to a number of potential people for the post over the last few weeks, but Keith was by far and away the outstanding candidate for the job.
“He is extremely qualified in that he has his UEFA B, his A and his Pro Licence and has coached with our Under 17s and our Under 20s, but just as important, it helps keep a ‘Motherwell’ identity within the coaching staff, which I personally think is extremely important.
“He understands what it is like to play and do very well here, and has a huge passion for Motherwell FC and the supporters. I am really looking forward to working with him.”
In a further boost for Motherwell, goalkeeper Russell Griffiths has signed a one-year contract with the club having spent the second half of last season on loan from Everton.