Former Celtic defender pitches for St Johnstone job as five-time title winner targets first management role

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St Johnstone are bottom of the Scottish Premiership with one win from their opening 10 matches

Scottish Premiership strugglers St Johnstone are on the hunt for a new manager to replace Steven MacLean after a disastrous start to the season.

The Saints made the decision to sack MacLean after a nine game winless streak but claimed their first win of the season under interim boss Alex Cleland in a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock. Reflecting on the result, Cleland insisted that it was just “one game” and claimed he would not be involved in the “process” of helping the club find a new manager.

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The Scottish international was a product of the Celtic youth academy who made a name for himself at Aberdeen before returning to Celtic Park in 2010.

Mulgrew enjoyed a six-year stint with Celtic and lifted five titles during his time at the club along with two Scottish Cups. The versatile defender was also known for his exceptional set piece ability and his strong performances earned him a spot in the PFA Team of the Season on two occasions.

The defender enjoyed success in a five-year spell at Blackburn Rovers and helped the club to promotion by scoring an incredible 14 goals in League One. Later moves to Wigan, Fleetwood and Dundee United followed, before his retirement at the end of last season.

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The 37-year-old remains keen to be involved in football and has issued a come and get me plea to St Johnstone as he targets a managerial breakthrough.

Speaking to Lucky Bock, Mulgrew said: “I would love to get into management and coaching and would love the opportunity at St Johnstone – that’s a job that would excite me. I’ve got clear ideas on how I see my team and clear ideas on how I want to manage people and create an honest culture within the club – everybody being their true authentic self.”

Mulgrew outlined his philosophy: “I want to be a manager, the leader and give the boys a feeling of security by knowing exactly what their job is on the pitch. It’s about letting them play with freedom within a style of football based on positioning and control in and out of possession and I’m adamant on how I want to do that.

“Also, a massive part of being a manager is caring for your players. In my whole career as a player and player-coach in the changing room has been about learning how to care for people to get the best out of them, and that’s something I can take into management as well.”

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The defender also spoke highly about his working relationship with ex-Hoops boss Neil Lennon and claims he has learned a great deal from him in his playing career.

“You can have all the philosophies, the way you want them to play and the special tactics and 100 page-thick document on how you see your team playing, but if you don’t connect with your players and you don’t have a respect and a connection with your players, it’s all a waste of time.

“I learned a lot from every single manager I played under. Not only from the things they did but also from the things they didn’t do. Neil Lennon’s man management for me as an individual was very good – he told you straight if something was good or if it was bad. Some people don’t like to hear that.

“Sometimes that might come across as aggressive, and the language might not be the best, but that’s how my dad did it as well, so I knew that it came from a place of care. And when you understand that and have a connection with somebody, you can take positives from that because you know it’s the best for you.”

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