Motherwell show faith in Brown

Winning start as caretaker at Fir Park earns former Scotland manager full role
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The Independent Football

Craig Brown has agreed to take on the role of Motherwell manager on a permanent basis. The 69-year-old former Scotland international coach will continue in the job until at least the end of the season after winning his first two Scottish Premier League games in charge.

A club statement released last night said: "The club are delighted to announce the appointment of Craig Brown as permanent manager. Brown and his assistant Archie Knox have agreed an initial deal until the end of the season."

The former Scotland and Preston manager began his coaching career at the club in 1974, serving as Willie McLean's assistant for three seasons.

The move was anticipated after Motherwell scored five goals without reply in SPL games against Kilmarnock and St Mirren, although they were knocked out of the Scottish Cup at Inverness in the period between those two league successes.

However, Brown could reportedly secure an 18-month contract when he and chairman John Boyle continue their discussions.

Brown arrived at Fir Park on 29 December after Jim Gannon left the club 24 hours earlier following his failure to sign a contract six months into his reign.

The Fir Park outfit had earlier announced that the on-loan Everton pair John Ruddy and Lukas Jutkiewicz had extended their loan deals until the end of the season. Both have impressed since their arrival on loan from Goodison Park in the summer.

The Steelmen were keen to retain the services of both players for the second half of the campaign.

And, after Brown held talks with the Everton manager, David Moyes, yesterday, both players have been given the go-ahead to extend their loans until the end of the season.

Goalkeeper Ruddy has kept eight clean sheets so far this term – the most in the SPL – while striker Jutkiewicz has also impressed, scoring eight goals.

"Both John and Lukas have been consistent performers throughout the campaign and we're delighted that both will remain with us," said Brown.

"I'd like to thank the chairman, John Boyle, for financing the deal, which gives us a major boost in our challenge for a top six place."

Meanwhile, Celtic midfielder Scott Brown insists his own situation at the club is not comparable to that of former club-mate Gary Caldwell, who quit the Glasgow giants for Wigan Athletic earlier this month, six months before his deal was due to expire after talks over an extension broke down.

And, despite being sidelined since October with an ankle injury, Brown has been unable to avoid speculation over his own future.

Reports suggested the midfielder was told by Tony Mowbray in a meeting at Christmas that he wanted to sell him, claims which have since been denied by the Celtic manger.

There have also been suggestions that Caldwell felt unwanted at the Parkhead club before his departure but Brown says his own situation is completely different.

He said: "I think Gary was in a different situation, he was running out of contract and stuff. I am kind of different from everyone else as well as I am out injured and not in training with the lads.

"I wouldn't say I was an outcast but it is not the same as being in training every day, so hopefully when I train with the lads we will see how it is and take it from there. When I am sitting about doing nothing I just think about how much I miss playing football and being around everyone.

"But at the same time I needed the rest and, hopefully, by the end of my career this helps me out, that I wasn't playing in pain every week."

Meanwhile, Mowbray would not be drawn on speculation linking Celtic with a £1m move for the Brondby striker Morten Rasmussen