Mika-Matti Paatelainen appointed Finland coach

Mika-Matti Paatelainen was appointed as Finland’s national

football team coach Thursday, on a five-year contract.

The Finnish Football Association said the 44-year-old Finn,

previously manager of Scottish Premier League club Kilmarnock, will

replace Stuart Baxter with immediate effect. Baxter’s two-year

contract ended in November and was not renewed.

Assistant coach Olli Huttunen took over temporarily in November

but Finland has managed only one win – over San Marino – in a tough

Euro 2012 qualifying group that includes Netherlands and

Sweden.

Paatelainen said the position of Finland coach was ”a dream,”

which he had worked hard for. ”It’s great to accept such a

challenge,” he said.

Before coaching, Paatelainen had a 20-year career playing for

nine different clubs in four countries. He played mostly for

Scottish teams Dundee United, Aberdeen, Hibernian, St. Johnstone

and St. Mirren.

Paatelainen scored 18 goals in 70 appearances for Finland’s

national team.