Mixu Paatelainen: Former Hibs boss returns to management as he takes charge at 'family club'

Former Hibs striker and manager Mixu Paatelainen has taken the reins at Helsinki side HIFK, returning to his homeland for his tenth managerial job.

Friday, 22nd April 2022, 7:13 pm

The 55-year-old has agreed a two-year deal with the Veikkausliiga side, with the option of a third.

HIFK has strong family connections for Paatelainen, who told the Evening News last week that he was keen to get back into management at the right club, and that he had turned down offers from a couple of teams.

Father Matti played for the club between 1969 and 1972, featuring as the club won promotion from the Suomensarja to the Mestaruussarja, and his uncle Heikki also represented HIFK between 1971 and 1972.

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Mixu’s appointment as manager means the Paatelainen name is back at Helsingfors for the first time in 50 years.

“There are things in football that cannot be bought with money but must be earned. These include fans and traditions. HIFK has both of these,” he said in a statement posted on HIFK’s website.

"I grew up within HIFK and now I can be a part of this club. That's an honour for me. I will do my best to use my experience and vision to achieve something great.”

Paatelainen has only managed one other Finnish club – TPS, who he led from October 2006 and January 2008 – but had a four-year spell at the helm of the national team between 2011 and 2015.

Mixu Paatelainen has returned to his homeland to take charge at HIFK

After a playing career that took him from FC Haka in Finland to Dundee United, Aberdeen, Bolton, Wolves, Hibs twice, Strasbourg, St Johnstone, St Mirren, and Cowdenbeath he entered management, and had spells managing former clubs Cowdenbeath and Dundee United as well as Kilmarnock, Thai side Ubon UMT United, Latvia, and Hong Kong.

Paatelainen returned to Hibs for a third time in January 2008, taking the reins as manager after two separate playing spells either side of his time at Strasbourg, but he left by mutual consent in May 2009 after a disappointing season.

Prior to joining HIFK Paatelainen was working for FIFA and UEFA. He took charge of his first game on Friday, with HIFK losing 2-1 to Paatelainen’s former side Haka, with former Motherwell, Kilmarnock, St Mirren, and Ross County forward Lee Erwin on the scoresheet.