Former Finland striker Mixu Paatelainen has been appointed as his country's new national team coach and has left his job as manager of Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock FC to take the post.
The 44-year-old, who scored 18 goals in 70 internationals, has quit Kilmarnock to take the Finland reins with immediate effect. Finland had been without a permanent boss since Stuart Baxter's departure in November 2010, and caretaker coach Markku Kanerva will become Paatelainen's assistant.
"It is brilliant to get a challenge like this," said the new man at the helm. "This is a dream come true and I have been working towards it for a long time."
Paatelainen is committed to coaching Finland until the end of the UEFA EURO 2016 campaign. Football Association of Finland (SPL-FBF) president Sauli Niinistö said: "We are delighted we could get the top name on our shortlist. We trust Paatelainen to start the next step in the process of developing the national team."
Former centre-forward Paatalainen played for FC Haka, Dundee United FC, Aberdeen FC, Bolton Wanderers FC, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, Hibernian FC, RC Strasbourg, Saint Johnstone FC and Saint Mirren FC. He then coached Scotland's Cowdenbeath FC, Finland's TPS Turku and Hibernian before taking charge at Kilmarnock last summer and guiding them to their present fifth place in the Premier League.
Finland, meanwhile, lie fifth in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group E, with three points from four games. They face San Marino in their next qualifier on 3 June.
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