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EX-HOOPS SKIPPER PRAISES PLAYERS

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FORMER Celtic skipper Gary Caldwell has refused to accept the credit for guiding Wigan back to the Championship after a one-season exile.

The ex-Scotland defender handed the praise to his players after the club’s 4-0 win at Blackpool moved them to within one game of the title.

Caldwell, 34, said: “They are the ones who go out and win games and we saw that in the second-half at the weekend.

“It wasn’t anything I did. They responded by taking the game by the scruff of the neck and the success we’ve had is largely down to them.”

The rookie gaffer, in charge at Wigan for just over a year, is now preparing for the team to be crowned champions when they host Barnsley on Sunday while the Hoops also intend to have a flag party when they face Aberdeen at Parkhead.

He said: “We’ll celebrate going up, but once that’s out of the way, we’ll knuckle down and prepare to go and win it in style and have a big party back at the DW stadium in front of our own supporters.

”This success means more as a manager because you know how many people it affects.

“As a player, you get on with your job, but, as a manager, you understand the whole club and what it means to so many people.

“I’ll enjoy it, but also understand it’s my responsibility to think about next season and keep taking this club forward.

“It was far from easy. It was a lot of people putting in a lot of hard work and not just me. There are a lot of people who care for this club and who have worked very hard to start to bring success back.

“This is only the beginning.”

Caldwell, who quit playing to take over from sacked Uwe Rosler in April last year, refused to hit the panic button when the team suffered three defeats in the opening month of the campaign.

He said: “The players understood the process we had to go through and there was a lot of learning about each other as team-mates and what I wanted as a manager.

“I think you can see the way the season has progressed that we’ve been excellent – and I still think we can get even better.

“Next year will be a huge challenge, but I still believe this group will be competitive in a very difficult league.

“I’m thinking positive. We want to work hard in the summer to be better than we were this year.”

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