Partick Thistle have entrusted Gary Caldwell to repeat his instant promotion feat after naming the former Scotland defender their new manager.
The 36-year-old replaces Alan Archibald and will be assisted by Brian Kerr, his former Newcastle and Scotland team-mate.
Thistle’s statement pointed out that Caldwell had led Wigan to the League One title at the first attempt before a short spell at Chesterfield “where, having been appointed halfway through the season, he was not given the resources he had been promised to stop the club being relegated”.
Archibald lost his job with the recently-relegated Jags eighth in the Ladbrokes Championship.
Jags chairman Jacqui Low said: “Gary is a driven individual with a clear vision and plan to succeed – a new face our rivals may not expect and will not be prepared for. The board also wanted to bring in someone the players would respect for his achievements. With his track record both as a player and as a manager, we believe Gary is that man.
“We were blown away by Gary’s interview preparation and, in the space of a week, he had done an analysis of each player, identified a training schedule to deal with the fitness levels and pulled together a vision of how to get Thistle playing well enough to secure promotion.
“Put simply, he plans to build a strong defence that allows us to then push forward and play attacking football. Gary’s proposals were detailed and realistic. The high degree of clarity and organisation with which Gary shared his views was a significant factor in him being chosen as the preferred candidate.”
Low also praised the former Hibernian and Celtic player’s track record in promoting youth players and added: “Gary hasn’t sat back while looking for a new position – off his own bat, he has persuaded significant and well-respected managers from across the UK to spend time with him to let him continue to learn from the best.
“That single-minded determination to be a winner, backed up by his clear practical ideas of what needs to be done, starting now, convinced us that he will take no prisoners on or off the field. He also brings a hard edge and streetwise attitude that we will need for the rest of the season if we are to achieve our aims.
“Gary’s experience in getting Wigan up from the First Division to the Championship at the first attempt mirrors what’s required of him here. But he can’t succeed on his own so the board will back him come the January transfer window if he wants to further strengthen the squad.”
Caldwell declared himself “extremely excited” to be at the Glasgow club.
“It very quickly became clear to me that there are positive and exciting plans in place, backed up by a strong structure from top to bottom,” he said.
“There is a huge amount of potential in this squad. But it won’t happen overnight. We can’t do it on our own either, I need support from the fans and so do the players. If we are together, I have no doubt we can achieve a massive amount.”