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Mixu Paatelainen : biography

3 February 1967 -

Mika-Matti Petteri "Mixu" Paatelainen (born 3 February 1967 in Helsinki) is a former Finnish international football player and the current manager of the Finnish national team, having started the role in April 2011. He scored 18 goals in 70 appearances for the Finnish national team, which makes him Finland’s all time twelfth most capped player and fifth top goalscorer.

Paatelainen had a 20 year playing career, playing for nine different clubs in four countries. Most of his career was spent in the Scottish leagues, with Dundee United, Aberdeen, Hibernian, St. Johnstone and St. Mirren. During a spell with English club Bolton Wanderers, Paatelainen became the first Finn to play in the Premier League.

After retiring as a player in 2005, Paatelainen became manager of Scottish club Cowdenbeath, where he helped the club win the championship of Scottish Football League Third Division and earn a promotion. After a season coaching in his native Finland with TPS, Paatelainen returned to Scotland as manager of Hibernian. He left that position by mutual consent after 18 months. After a year out of the game, Paatelainen was appointed manager of Kilmarnock.

He is the eldest of three brothers, all of whom have played professional football. Their father Matti was also a Finnish international.

In popular culture

Paatelainen’s time at Bolton Wanderers led to him being mentioned in the comedy show Phoenix Nights. This happened when the doormen Max & Paddy drunkenly made a prank call to their boss Brian Potter, claiming that Paatelainen worked at the Coroner’s office in Bolton and that the club was on fire.

Coaching career


Having previously worked as a coach while still playing for St. Johnstone and St. Mirren, Paatelainen was appointed full-time manager of Scottish Third Division part-time football team Cowdenbeath in August 2005. In his first season, he guided the Blue Brazil to their first league title in 67 years. He signed his brothers Markus and Mikko for the club.


On 21 October 2006, Paatelainen resigned as manager of Cowdenbeath to join Finnish club TPS. He guided TPS to third place and UEFA Intertoto Cup qualification in what was to be his only season in charge.


Paatelainen was linked with the managerial vacancy at former club Hibernian in December 2007, and he was appointed on 10 January 2008. He commented upon taking the job that he wanted to make Hibs play a bit more direct, which he later claimed was misinterpreted as him wanting to play a long ball game. Paatelainen took the Hibs job at a time when they had only won one of their previous ten games and had slipped into the bottom half of the Scottish Premier League. Hibs’ results initially improved under Paatelainen and the club secured a place in the top half of the league.

During the 2008–09 season, Paatelainen came under increasing pressure from Hibs fans due to poor results and his favouring of a 4-3-3 system. Paatelainen eventually abandoned 4–3–3 in favour of a more orthodox 4-4-2 system. He was criticised by Abdessalam Benjelloun, who accused Paatelainen of favouring outdated long ball tactics. Paatelainen responded by saying that Benjelloun was "frustrated" at not being a regular pick for club or country. A poor run of results early in 2009 led to many Hibs supporters calling for Paatelainen to be sacked, but he did manage to lead the team into the top half of the league again. Paatelainen was also praised by the media for his tactical approach in winning the last Edinburgh derby of the season, but he left the job by mutual consent at the end of May after a disappointing season.


After a year out of the game, Paatelainen was appointed manager of Kilmarnock on 23 June 2010. Paatelainen has earned plaudits from the Scottish media for his early work with Kilmarnock. In November 2010, he was linked with the head coach position of the Finland national football team. Paatelainen won the manager of the month award for December 2010, as Kilmarnock continued their good start with two league wins, against Hibernian and Inverness CT, and a draw at Celtic Park. Kilmarnock offered him a long-term contract in March 2011, in an attempt to frustrate interest in Paatelainen from Scunthorpe United. The approach from Scunthorpe was rejected by Paatelainen, but soon afterwards he accepted an offer from Finland.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine