Motherwell defender Stephen McManus retires from football

Former Scotland captain Stephen McManus has announced his retirement from the game to take up a coaching position with Motherwell's youth academy. The 34-year-old has been with the Fir Park side since 2013, but has only featured once for the Lanarkshire club this season, against Edinburgh City in the League Cup.

Speaking to the official Motherwell website, McManus said: "When you retire from playing, you do so with a heavy heart.

"However, I believe this is the right time for me, with this opportunity in a new era for academies in Scotland."

McManus came through the youth ranks at Celtic before breaking into the first team and went on to make over 200 appearances for the Glasgow side, winning three Premiership titles, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups.

He left Celtic and played for Middlesborough and Bristol City between 2010 and 2013, before he signed for Motherwell, going on to make 156 appearances for the club.

McManus was capped 27 times for the national team, scoring twice.

He will now take up a coaching position with Motherwell's youth academy.

McManus added: "I am very excited to be learning from the great coaching staff we have at Motherwell at the moment; that was the main attraction for me. I want to develop as a coach and this is a wonderful opportunity.

"I want to thank the fans of every club I've played for, particularly at Well where I've enjoyed myself tremendously over the past five seasons. I now look forward to the next chapter in my career."

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson, paid tribute to McManus, he commented: "We are absolutely delighted to be bringing someone like Stephen on to our staff as he will be a huge asset to the club.

"He's a former Celtic and Scotland captain and has played almost 500 career games; that's a wealth of experience that our younger players now have at their disposal.

"It was a massive decision for him personally and it's a real testament to Stephen as a guy that he wants to make this step at this stage of his life.

"I believe he'll make a tremendous coach one day and he's doing it in the correct way, getting his badges and doing the hard work on the training ground first."