PAUL HARTLEY concedes he has taken "a gamble" by quitting a sought-after role in management but firmly believes that, after a fruitful spell in charge of Alloa, he is now ready for a top-flight post.

The former Celtic and Hearts player resigned from his post at Recreation Park on Saturday, citing his desire for a "new challenge" after taking Alloa from the fourth tier to the SPFL Championship in two full seasons at the club.

"I am giving up a job and I understand it is a gamble," he admitted. "I might not get back into football. But that is the call I made. It was 100% my decision and I will live with it. There are many who would like to be in the position I was in, but I felt it was time for me to leave.

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"I absolutely love the game, it's my life. But I need a fresh challenge and the next step is to a full-time club. I only worked with players for three hours a week and that is difficult, at times."