Happy birthday Mark

Last updated : 25 May 2009 By Firparkcorner

A year ago (almost to the day) Motherwell formally rejected an approach by Hearts when they were seeking a new boss. It seemed certain that he was inclined to take the Lithuanian shilling but John Boyle's persuasive powers (aided by a healthy pay rise?) encouraged him not to board the aircraft and instead focus on our European adventure.

The management team watch the Killie game on Saturday

The winter of 2007/8 was filled with speculation that McGhee was a possible successor to Big Eck in the Scotland hot seat. It was not until Burley was given the job in February 2008 that the uncertainty was removed. In fairness to McGhee he had made it clear that he would remain at Fir Park at least until the end of season 2007/8 to allow some healing time after the sad loss of Phil O'Donnell.

History will record that our European adventure was short lived and we failed at the first hurdle. Despite that the games against Nancy will remain a highlight for Motherwell fans, particularly the thousands who made the trip to France.

He revitalised the club following the disastrous Malpas year and delivered a wonderful season of fast flowing, sparkling football of a quality which had not been seen in Motherwell for a generation or more. For that, he will always have the thanks of the Fir Park faithful.

Unusually, the manager remained seated in the dugout throughout Saturday's game against Kilmarnock. His normal pitch side attitude is more active. Finger pointing, arm waving and encouraging gestures are more the norm. Neither McGhee nor Leitch joined in the post match lap to thank fans for the season's support. It remains to be seen if this was an indicator of bigger changes to come.