PAUL Paton, the Dundee United midfielder, has backed Jackie McNamara to land another top managerial position soon as a result of the “brilliant” job he did during his time at Tannadice.

United, who sacked McNamara last month following a disappointing run of results, unveiled Mixu Paatelainen, the former SFWA Manager of the Year, as his successor yesterday.

Paton, the Northern Ireland internationalist who has been out of action with an injury since last season, admitted he was looking forward to working with Paatelainen and expressed hope he will succeed.

However, he also launched an impassioned defence of the job the Finn's predecessor, who was forced to offload his star performers after reaching two cup finals, and predicted he would be back in work imminently.

“Everybody knows how close I was with Jackie and thankful for what he and his staff did for me, including international recognition,” said Paton.

“He moved me from a right back to centre mid and although it has been my hard work II wouldn’t have achieved any of it if it wasn’t for him.

“I texted him when it was announced he was leaving and have phoned him since. I thanked him personally for everything he has done for me and my family.

“We had a conversation and he seemed upbeat because he feels he did a great job at the club and you just have to look at the money he has raked in for the club by selling players.

“He has brought players from obscurity and sold them for millions – like Andy Robertson from Queen’s Park and Nadir Ciftci when no-one else would touch him.

“Everyone else thought Ciftci was a loose cannon but Jackie managed him brilliantly, everybody loved him and they sold him for millions.

“He nurtured Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven and turned them into millions of pounds as well for the club.

“He has brought through other boys who will also be sold for big money, like John Souttar.

“He also took the club to two finals and although it was disappointing to lose these games the money ne brought in to club from getting there was massive.”

Speaking as Utilita Energy were announced as the new sponsor of the League Cup, he added: “The club was struggling financially when he came and made the top six with the last kick of the ball and everyone was cheering as if it was massive,

“All of a sudden two top six finishes at a canter and two cup finals and it’s not good enough. I think he can hold his head high and he will get another top job soon.

“When you look at it, he and the chairman have turned Dundee United around financially because it’s so stable now and there is more money to come with add-ons.

“He can be very happy with what he has achieved there. He will be disappointed not to have won one of the cup finals – we all are – but from a financial point of view and stability-wise he has worked wonders.”

Paton, who is hoping to be back in training with United soon after undergoing a successful knee operation, believes McNamara’s ambition to succeed as a manager won’t have been dented by the painful end to his time on Tayside.

“I think if you have won what he has won throughout his career playing for Celtic and played for Scotland in major competitions then you have always got that determination,” he said.

“You saw it every day in the gaffer. He is a very determined guy. He will be disappointed to be let got but it will only make him more eager to get back in a top job and I’m sure he will do that.

“When you look at results they were bad and when you are one up against 10 men and lose you think the worst.

“So from that point of view it looked as though things were getting worse and worse but we always had faith in the gaffer that we could turn it round.

“But we were down at the bottom of the league and the chairman obviously felt we had to make the change.”