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Paatelainen takes up Finland challenge

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 31 Mar 2011

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Mixu Paatelainen has left his post as Kilmarnock manager to coach the Finland national team.

Paatelainen was the target of recent interest from Championship side Scunthorpe United and Kilmarnock were also eager to retain his services, but the lure of coaching his national side, for which he made 70 appearances as a player, was too strong.

Kilmarnock assistant coach Kenny Shiels will take the reins for the side’s Scottish Premier League game at St Johnstone on Saturday.

“Following careful consideration Mixu has decided that the honour of managing his national team is one which he cannot refuse,” a Kilmarnock statement read.

“He will take up his duties with the Finnish FA immediately.”

Paatelainen was a fan favourite at Rugby Park, and has drastically reversed the club’s fortunes since his appointment in June last year.

Kilmarnock finished second from the bottom in 2009-10, but are currently fifth in the SPL and within grasp of a Europa League berth.

“Mixu’s short reign at Kilmarnock has witnessed a dramatic improvement in the club’s fortunes in the SPL,” the statement continued.

“Several club records have been broken, including longest scoring run in a league campaign.”

“Our travelling support has been treated to a feast of attacking football, which has yielded more goals than any other club away from home bar one.”

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