Ayr United: Mark Kerr announced as new manager
Mark Kerr says it is an "extremely proud moment" after Ayr United confirmed his appointment as their new manager.
Kerr, 39, joined the club as a player in 2018 but has now signed a contract in his first permanent role as a boss until May 2021.
Ian McCall left for a second spell in charge of Partick Thistle in September after four years at Somerset Park.
"This is a great challenge for me at a club I now know very well," said Kerr.
"I am looking forward to getting down to the hard work straight away.
"This is an extremely proud moment for me, I have loved playing in front of our fans and hope to take the club forward with them."
Kerr, who has made nine appearances as a player this season, inherits a squad that currently sits second in the Scottish Championship having won six of their first nine league games.
And despite going an entire month without a first-team coach as Kerr and Sandy Stewart took temporary charge, the Ayrshire side look far from demoralised.
"It's been an unsettling few weeks for everyone involved and it's never an easy process finding a new manager," said club chairman Lachlan Cameron.
"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"
A 'surprise' choice? - analysis
Former Ayr United manager Ian McCall on BBC Sportsound
"I'm a bit surprised but every decision on a new manager is a gamble.
"I know it's a very popular move in the dressing room. It was all above board, with Mark telling Sandy early on he was applying for the job. Then it's up to the club to roll the dice.
"I haven't heard whether or not Sandy is going to stay. I don't think he will, but he's a terrific coach.
"I think it's important that Mark gets the right people in beside him."