STEVEN WHITTAKER has left Dunfermline to join the coaching staff at English Football League side Fleetwood Town.

The 37-year-old departs East End to link-up with former Hibernian and Scotland team-mate Scott Brown, who was yesterday confirmed as the Lancashire club's new head coach.

Ex-Celtic captain Brown, who grew up in Hill of Beath, makes his first move into management with the Cod Army having left a player/coach role with Aberdeen in March, just eight months after moving to Pittodrie.

Brown, who won 55 caps for his country and captained the national side under Gordon Strachan, had been linked with the vacant Raith Rovers post, and it was reported he would target Whittaker to join him as his assistant.

That has now come to fruition with the English League One club, with Whittaker departing after two seasons with the Pars.

A former Scotland international himself, winning 31 caps, he joined Athletic in the summer of 2020 under Stevie Crawford's management, penning a one-year deal as a player/coach.

He made 24 appearances in all competitions for the club as they reached the Premiership play-off quarter-finals, which they lost to local rivals Raith Rovers, before retiring from playing.

He took up a full-time coaching role under Crawford's replacement, Peter Grant, but Dunfermline found themselves winless and bottom of the table by the end of October.

Following Grant's departure, Whittaker, and fellow coach, Greg Shields, found themselves in charge for a 3-1 home loss to Greenock Morton before John Hughes was appointed as Grant's successor.

Whittaker and Shields took the team for a match at Inverness 24 hours after Hughes took over, leading them to a 2-1 victory, and stayed on to work with the new manager.

However, after Dunfermline failed to avoid second bottom spot, a 1-0 loss to Queen's Park, following a 0-0 first leg draw, at East End on Saturday saw them relegated to League One, where they will play for the first time in six years.

After leaving Aberdeen, Brown had been offering his assistance to Hughes and his coaching team, and was seen at several Pars matches before the season ended.

He will now link-up once more with Whittaker, with the pair having come through the ranks at Easter Road.

They were part of the Easter Road side that won the League Cup in 2007 - the same season in which Jim McIntyre's 'panenka' penalty saw Dunfermline edge them out in a Scottish Cup semi-final replay - before Whittaker moved to Rangers, with Brown joining Celtic.

Following Simon Grayson's dismissal in November, Fleetwood had been led by Stephen Crainey, who returns to his role with their under-23s, as they avoided relegation on goal difference.