Ray McKinnon said he was “excited” to be the new Raith Rovers manager at his official unveiling at Stark’s Park on Monday.
McKinnon (44), who was also interviewed for the St Mirren vacancy last week, joins on a two-year contract after moving from League One side Brechin City.
The new boss stressed that it was always his intention to accept Raith’s offer despite attending the St Mirren interview.
“I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge ahead,” he said.
“I’d already got my head around joining Raith. I knew where I was coming and what I was doing,
“I’d committed to the St Mirren interview so I followed through with it.
“It was basically a distraction that I’d committed to.
“I’m now the Raith Rovers manager, and I’m delighted to be here.”
McKinnon revealed that his ambition to test his managerial credentials in a higher league was the driving force behind his decision to leave Brechin.
“It will be a test and a challenge and that’s what I’m here for,” he said. “It was a no-brainer.”
With only 15 players under contract, including mostly youngsters, McKinnon made it his first priority to speak to the club’s out of contract players.
“I’m meeting players this afternoon,” he said. “I’m getting right into the job from this minute.
“There’s a lot of players I haven’t spoken to that are out of contract who I’m sure will be attracting the attention of other clubs.
“It’s important I get in contact with these players and have meetings with them and that will start today.”
McKinnon revealed that he will seek the advice of Laurie Ellis, who is staying on as a player-coach, when deciding which players to keep at the club.
“I’ll take Laurie’s counsel on that - and other people as well,” he said.
“We’ve got DVDs, and we’ve got an idea of the players anyway. I know most of them, so we’ll do due diligence on everything and make a decision.
“A lot of these players are out of contract and have spoken to other clubs simply down to timing, and the fact that I’ve only just joined the other day.
“There’s no panic - but we certainly want to get started, and start recruiting, identifying who we want at the club next year and who will fit into the structure and how we want to play.
“There’s a lot of work to be done right now, and a lot of talking to be done. There’s a lot of sourcing the right players for the club.”
McKinnon’s first piece of business this week was to snap up striker Mark Stewart on a two-year contract, although winger Ryan Conroy has left for Queen of the South,
The new gaffer stopped short of setting any targets for next season, but added: “My aim is the same as any other manager, to do the best you can, and finish as high as you possibly can.
“I’m not going to make any ridiculous statements, we’ll see how we go.
“Hopefully we put a strong enough squad together that we can do well in the Championship next season.
“I’m ambitious and the club is ambitious, so if we can marry those two together and put the right players on the park we’re hoping to do the best we can.”
McKinnon earned a reputation for playing attractive attacking football at Brechin, but he has no set philosophy in mind for his time at Stark’s Park.
“I just want to win and I’ll do whatever it takes to win games,” he explained.
“I’m not going to flannel anybody with philosophies.
“Don’t get me wrong, there is a certain manner people like to play, but ultimately it’s about winning games.
“It’s not about anything else in my mind.”
After serving his coaching apprenticeship in the lower part-time leagues, McKinnon is relishing the return to full-time football.
“I know and understand what it’s like to be at a football club every day, I done it for 20 years as a player,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to work with the players and get them buying into how you want to play.
“That timescale is the difference between part-time and full-time.
“It just gives you a lot more time to work with the players which, hopefully, will benefit them.”