EUAN MURRAY has said it was a "pleasure" to captain Athletic and something he will look back on with pride when his career ends.

But the centre back admitted that the opportunity to join Kilmarnock, as they prepare for life in the second tier for the first time in 28 years, was one that he had a gut feeling was the right one for him.

Murray, 27, left Dunfermline after two years at East End after his contract expired last Monday and, despite receiving offers from Scottish Premiership clubs and from south of the border, he agreed a two-year deal with Tommy Wright's side last Tuesday.

Following a blistering start to last season, which saw him score a remarkable seven goals in the Pars' first 10 games in all competitions, speculation over the defender's future began to circulate in the national media.

And, following their defeat to rivals Raith Rovers in the Premiership play-off quarter-finals, Murray has now decided his future lies at Rugby Park, which, conveniently, is just around the corner from his home.

In an exclusive interview with Press Sport, Murray said: "There was other options there but speaking to Tommy Wright the manager on the phone, he made it clear to me that he really wanted to sign me."

When asked if he had held talks with the Pars to extend his stay, Murray replied: "There was for a wee bit but it was a case of when it came to the end up, for one reason or another, I just thought it was best to move on when I had the options available to me that I knew were becoming available.

"Like I say, there was options there in the Premiership and I could've gone there, just the same as I could've gone down south. But, for me, Kilmarnock is the club that I feel I'm best there to kick my career on again. I look forward to the challenge that we have this season."

Looking back at his time as a Pars player, Murray continued: "I can't speak highly enough of Dunfermline as a club.

"I've absolutely loved my two years there and every single person at the club was excellent with me, from the chairman, the manager Stevie Crawford, his staff that he had, Jason Dair, Greg Shields, and the ones who came in. Every one of them was excellent with me in different ways and I very much appreciated everything they did.

Folk like Mo (Hutton) the kitman, Sammi (Connell) that helps out with stuff, Jordan Burt who does the (Pars) TV – folk like this that don't really get the recognition that maybe we as players or the staff get at times, but were brilliant people.

"I was glad I had the chance to thank them in different ways for moving on. The supporters were always behind me, they were great with me.

"A regret for me is that I was captain of the club and I never got to play in front of them as the captain because I'm sure that, last season, they could've drove us on and you never know what could've happened with the backing because it's a massively-supported club.

"It's just a big club with a lot of great, great folk about it. There were a lot of folk that were a pleasure to work alongside, two great bunches of boys, two different groups in terms of the age if you want, maybe a bit more younger last year. But, also for me, having a different role, more responsibility, is something that I thoroughly enjoyed doing.

"It was a pleasure for me to be the captain of the club and I wish them well going forward. I hope we beat them, but other than that, you want to see them doing OK.

"I'm not one for getting too caught up in stuff at the moment when I'm in – I try to be the least emotional football player I can be while I'm playing – but I certainly know that, when I end up retiring, that I'll look back with real pride that I've been the captain of a big, big football club in Scotland, and one that I had a connection with for two years."