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Ayr United appoint Mark Kerr as club's new manager

The experienced player takes over from Ian McCall at Somerset Park.

Ayr United have announced the appointment of Mark Kerr as the club's new manager.

Kerr has stepped up from the playing squad to become the successor to Ian McCall, signing an 18-month contract at Somerset Park.

The 37-year-old has previously taken charge of Falkirk as caretaker boss but is taking on his first permanent managerial job.

Ayr invited six candidates to interview at the club as they looked to replace McCall after he left for Partick Thistle and chairman Lachlan Cameron said he was delighted to have chosen Kerr to lead the club's push for promotion from the Championship and he had the backing of the players.

"It's been an unsettling few weeks for everyone involved and it's never an easy process finding a new manager," he said. "However, we wanted to do it right and I feel confident in the process and I'm pleased with the result.

"The dressing room would have backed any manager coming in but I know they are especially thrilled with our appointment and are looking forward to getting back to winning ways."

Kerr told STV: "Obviously it's a great opportunity.

"Ian McCall brought me here as a player and I've built up a good relationship with the fans and all the boys and the staff around the place. I know what the club's about and I hope to continue the good performances that we've had in the past couple of years.

"I would say I've planned for the last three or four years for this opportunity to come along. I've done things behind the scenes and I've worked closely with the old gaffer and Peter Houston.

"So it's always been an aim to get into management but to get to do it at a club like this in the position we're in is amazing."

Kerr says he has paid close attention to how McCall built a winning team and intends to keep to a similar style.

"I learned about team spirit and recruitment, how he builds his teams early in the season," he said. "It's all about the dressing room for him and the characters. So it's great to have the backing in that dressing room. And you need to play freely and enjoy your football.

"That's perfect for me because I love to pass the ball and I'll encourage the boys to go out there and have freedom.

"Hopefully we have success with that kind of style.

"Lachlan and the board of directors have taken a chance on me to give me the opportunity but I think I've shown the way I go about my business here. There'll be a lot of scrutiny but I knew that would happen. I'm just delighted that they've backed me."

With Ayr currently in second place in the table, just behind Dundee United on goal difference, the new manager says he won't get carried away but is aiming for promotion to the top flight.

He said: "Last year's aim was to get to 40 points and keep us in the league but we were excellent throughout the season and hit the play-offs. This year it'll be the same.

"We aim for the top and it's going to be difficult but we've got the talent and we need to keep the consistency and focus and hopefully we can finish high up the league if not push to win it."

The midfielder, who has made over 600 appearances during a career that saw him play for several Scottish clubs, has said that he will continue playing for Ayr until January.

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