Kenny Shiels has backed himself as a good candidate to be Mixu Paatelainen's permanent successor at Kilmarnock.
Killie chairman Michael Johnston confirmed that assistant boss Shiels will take control of the Ayrshire club “for its forthcoming SPL matches” after Paatelainen was yesterday installed as manager of the Finland national team.
Former Coleraine and Ballymena United boss Shiels, who joined Paatelainen at Rugby Park last summer after a spell as Tranmere's head of youth, has helped Killie improve massively on the last couple of seasons to all but guarantee them a top-six spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
The Ulsterman is aware that more high-profile names will be linked with the post but he believes appointing him on a full-time basis would be a “good decision for the board.”
“It doesn't show on this face but I'm pleased,” Shiels said.
“I have my aspirations to meet challenges and being the manager of Kilmarnock is one of those
challenges I would like to meet.
“To take it on a full-time basis would be fantastic for the players and myself. I feel it would be a good decision for the board.
“That's a little bit egotistical but certainly, where I'm at, I would think it would be a great opportunity for me.
“Michael is on holiday in Gran Canaria but he asked me to steer the ship until such time as an appointment is made.
“I understand there will be a lot of applicants and I also know the board has to make the decision in the best interests of the club.
“But Mixu and I have the same philosophy. The template that we have worked off was put together by Mixu and me. That has always been the way my teams have played no matter where I've been.
“When I took Coleraine and Ballymena into Europe we played that way and I don't see any reason why it should change. So hopefully I can influence the board by sustaining the continuity.”
Shiels, whose first game in charge of Killie will be the trip to Perth to take on St Johnstone tomorrow, revealed that Paatelainen had “mixed emotions” about leaving the Rugby Park club.
“Mixu is sad to leave,” he said.
“He is a conscientious person and has pride in what he does.
“So he is juggling the emotions of happiness and sadness.
“He is really happy and proud to be offered the manager's job of his country.
“But he is sad to leave behind a job in progress and so he has mixed emotions.”