Brown committed to Motherwell despite flirtation with Dons

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The Independent Football

Motherwell manager Craig Brown was "very flattered" by interest from Aberdeen but is happy to be staying at Fir Park. Motherwell yesterday issued a statement to announce Brown and his assistant Archie Knox had met with Aberdeen officials to discuss the Dons manager's job, made vacant by Mark McGhee's departure last week, but would not be moving to Pittodrie.

Brown confirmed he met with Dons chairman Stewart Milne, chief executive Duncan Fraser and director of football Willie Miller yesterday and, while the prospect of the job turned his head, he had no intention of leaving Well.

"We're happy here working with Motherwell," Brown said. "There's a lot happening at Motherwell and we're up for that challenge but we're very flattered that Aberdeen wanted to have a word with us. I'm not saying it was an Aberdeen offer. Aberdeen are in a process of due diligence, looking at potential replacements for Mark McGhee and it would be dishonest if I said that Archie and I weren't on that list.

"We were never actually offered the job. Out of courtesy, we met with Aberdeen. It wasn't a lengthy meeting, but we had a meeting yesterday."

Brown, who was contacted by an agent about the Dons vacancy, revealed Milne had already arranged to be in Glasgow and the former Scotland manager was happy to meet.

He added: "I wasn't even thinking of an offer from another club and when it came, Aberdeen's a very fine football club, so there's no harm in going meeting the folk. You can hardly get a better club outside the Old Firm than the potential at Aberdeen.

"If we don't go to Aberdeen, I think you can take it that we're not likely to be leaving Motherwell unless Motherwell dispose of us."

Brown and Knox have been working without a contract since succeeding Jim Gannon in charge at Fir Park in December 2009 – a situation they remain happy with.

Discussions with the Dons did not reach specifics and Brown is now focused on strengthening his Well squad. "All that was mentioned was the football potential of both clubs," he added. "We feel that there's a lot of potential at the Motherwell club.It's not a secret to say we have been a wee bit concerned at the lack of depth in our [player] pool. Aberdeen seem to have more resources, a bigger player pool. I'm not saying a better one – that remains to be seen.

"At the moment results would indicate it's not better, but it's bigger. We certainly could do with extending the Motherwell pool."

Brown, though, believes he and Knox are appreciated at Well and said that the playing staff were behind their decision to stay.

He added: "We're not putting a gun at their head. We know the financial situation and we're sensitive to it. We just hope they will do the best and I think they are doing the best they can. The response from the Motherwell players is exceptional. The enthusiasm of these guys is a very big part in us wanting to stay at Motherwell. We know we could do with one or two more but when you have a group who do exactly as you tell them, to give that up would be quite a decision."

Aberdeen will now continue their search for a new coach, with Scotland Under-21 manager Billy Stark and former Hibernian manager John Hughes among the favourites.

Walter Smith admits Rangers will have to improve if they are to make an impact in the Europa League with the 5-4-1 formation employed in the Champions League.

The Light Blues finished off their Group C campaign with a 1-1 draw against Bursaspor in Turkey last night to confirm their participation in Uefa's second-tier club competition. "We will always be pushed if we meet the top teams but I think we have shown in the Champions League that we have handled difficult games very well," he said.

"There is still improvement to be made in terms of our overall possession of the ball, that's the improvement we have to make if we are going to continue to play in the formation we used."